Petition calls for State Government to halt $50 million Wanneroo interchange

Rohan and Shelley Criddle, of Tapping, with concerned residents from Wanneroo, Tapping and Carramar.
Rohan and Shelley Criddle, of Tapping, with concerned residents from Wanneroo, Tapping and Carramar.

A LACK of consultation, access to surrounding roads and the impact on property values are some of the concerns residents have about the Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive interchange.

A petition against the $50 million project is circulating Wanneroo, Tapping and Carramar as the State Government prepares to start construction in mid-2018.

Correspondence from Main Roads WA to residents said traffic modelling indicated that by 2023, morning traffic would experience delays of up to 80 seconds that would worsen by 2029 to “unacceptable levels of congestion”.

Tapping residents Shelley and Rohan Criddle said there had been “no community engagement” about the project, which would create a bridge for Joondalup Drive to go over a roundabout on Wanneroo Road.

“Our concerns are the speed that this is being pushed through,” Mrs Criddle said.

“It’s to save us 80 seconds of traffic lights (but) they are not taking into consideration the impact on the roads in surrounding suburbs.”

Mrs Criddle said the changes, which would include restricting turns at the St Stephens Crescent junction to left-in, left-out only, would push traffic onto other neighbourhood streets.

“Our community is going to suffer if this project goes through,” Mr Criddle said.

Mark Carruthers, also of Tapping, said getting onto Joondalup Drive from Houghton or Cheriton drives would take much longer than 80 seconds.

“Residents would need to cross two lanes of free flowing traffic, so they may save 80 seconds at Wanneroo Road but could take five minutes just to get onto Joondalup Drive,” he said.

Last month, Main Roads told the Times that the intersection would reach a state of “gridlock” within a decade if the upgrades were not done.

However, Wanneroo resident Willy Fisher said recent upgrades to the traffic signals to add extra right-turn lanes had already helped improve the traffic flow.

“Before they fixed this, it was almost gridlocked sometimes – now it’s lovely,” she said.

“We can get in and out without any problems.”

Mrs Criddle said traffic volumes had dropped since Main Roads opened up Flynn Drive to Neerabup Road as part of the Mitchell Freeway extension works last year.

“Traffic is already using that as an alternative to Joondalup Drive,” she said.

“The intersection since the upgrades have been done is actually ok now.”

Main Roads will hold three information display events in March, where people can view the design and ask the project team questions.

The first will be at the Carramar Community Centre this Saturday, from 1pm to 5pm.

Shaun Hearn.

Another Tapping resident Shaun Hearn said he was concerned about safety, particularly for pedestrians, the disruption to the community and access for emergency vehicles.

“We’ve done a lot of doorknocking – a lot of people didn’t know about it,” he said.

Carramar resident John Shattock said community engagement had been “poor” and petitioners had done more to inform the community than the government had.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said consultation to date included four community liaison group meetings, project newsletters and two shopping centre displays, attended by 250 people.

Ms Saffioti said the overpass was a key commitment in the 2017 State Election.

“It is a joint Federal-State initiative and one that has the full support of the Federal Government and the local council,” she said.

“I understand there are some community concerns, and we are hoping to address these through further consultation.

“This project was well supported during the election campaign with very positive feedback.

“This project is part of an overall package of works to help reduce congestion in our northern suburbs.

“There is significant population growth in the Wanneroo district and this will continue to the north of this project and to the east.

“The growth of Neerabup industrial estate will see even more pressure at this intersection over coming years.”

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Residents said they believed the State Government wanted a project to put money into from the cancelled Roe 8 project, and were pushing this one through to avoid legal action from contractors involved in that.

According to the Transport Minister’s office, the interchange was at procurement stage and was not part of the renegotiated Roe 8 contract.

Its response said the renegotiation did involve the current $31 million Wanneroo Road widening project, $100 million Murdoch Drive connection to Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway and the $145 million Armadale Road upgrade.

Mr Carruthers said Main Roads had not released any data on future traffic numbers, and Banksia Grove developers had told residents that the overpass was not needed based on future development in the area.

“Both the City of Wanneroo and residents association have written to Main Roads and the Minister for Transport’s office (to) request a public forum,” he said.

Residents were also concerned about the impact the flyover would have on their property values, particularly those closest to the intersection.

The petition will ask the State Government to “immediately halt” the project, re-evaluate the business case and hold an urgent community forum.

Copies of the petition, which residents plan to submit to the Legislative Council next month, can be found at Wanneroo Botanic Gardens and Eagle Falls Spurs Wanneroo.

Community information displays

March 17: 1-5pm at Carramar Community Centre, 5 Rawlinna Parkway

March 22: 3-8pm at Wanneroo Central Shopping Centre, 950 Wanneroo Road

March 24: 10am-4pm at Carramar Village Shopping Centre, 7 Cheriton Drive

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