Premier on road trip of congestion-busting upgrades

Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski, Premier Mark McGowan, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton visit the Wanneroo Road-Ocean reef Road interchange site. Picture: David Baylis d494329
Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski, Premier Mark McGowan, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton visit the Wanneroo Road-Ocean reef Road interchange site. Picture: David Baylis d494329

ONE of two interchange projects on Wanneroo Road were among sites visited by Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti in a road trip.

The State leaders visited seven of 30 major road projects on Wednesday, including the $65 million Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road interchange construction site, due to finish in late 2020.

Those projects are expected to create more than 3200 WA jobs and five out of the seven are part of the 17 ‘Boosting Jobs, Busting Congestion’ projects launched in 2017, funded as part of the redirection of funds from the Perth Freight Link project.

Jandakot MLA Yaz Mubarakai, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, Premier Mark McGowan, Armadale MLA Tony Buti and Cockburn MLA Francis Logan on the site of the Armadale Road widening.

“We came into government with a clear plan to fix congestion across the suburbs and to create local jobs in the process,” Mr McGowan said.

“Cancelling the flawed Perth Freight Link allowed us to redirect funding to other important projects across the State, and also enabled us to transfer workers to projects like the Armadale Road dual carriageway, so they could get underway sooner.”

Ms Saffioti said it was hard to think of a time when there was more construction activity happening across the suburban road network.

“These road projects will work together with Metronet to make people’s lives that little bit easier – getting them to work, home, school or elsewhere sooner,” she said.

“This involves creating overpasses where traffic lights currently cause traffic jams, adding more capacity to our freeways and busy roads, and building new roads in some cases.

“We have worked with industry to create a pipeline of works to create job security and apprenticeships across projects.”

The cost of congestion to Perth’s economy is about $1.6 billion a year, which the government expects to slash significantly upon completion of upgrades.

The recent contract awards for the Kalamunda Road-Roe Highway interchange and Armadale Road-North Lake Road Bridge, means all but one of WA Labor’s metropolitan road upgrade election commitments are now contracted.

Main Roads is also expecting to award the contract for the upgrade of High Street in Fremantle in coming months.

The Premier and minister visited several locations across the suburbs on July 3, including the $49 million Kwinana Freeway northbound widening from Russell Road to Roe Highway, due to be completed in late 2019.

They also visited the $237 million Armadale Road to North Lake Road Bridge for which a contract was awarded this week – the project is due to finish in late 2021.

They went to the $145 million Armadale Road widening from Anstey Road to Tapper Road, due to be completed in late 2019; and the $93 million Welshpool Road and Leach Highway grade separation which is in its planning phase.

Drone image of the intersection improvement works taking place at Ocean Reef Road and Wanneroo Road. Picture: David Baylis d494329

After visiting the Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road interchange site, they planned to go to the City of Stirling to sign a statement of intent for Stephenson Avenue extension, with $125 million committed, work starting shortly on phase one and overall project due to start in 2020.

They also planned to visit the $40 million Mitchell Freeway southbound widening construction site, which is due to finish in late 2019.

The pair also inspected the trial use of recycled materials on the Kwinana Freeway widening project between Russell Road and Roe Highway.

The pilot project will use up to 10,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste as pavement and sub-base to reduce reliance on mined materials and to prevent the material going to landfill.

Opposition Leader Liza Harvey criticised the government for reannouncing projects and not starting work on other projects, including Metronet, widening Mitchell Freeway and Roe 8.

“It will take a change of government to build Roe 8,” she said.

“It was sold by our government as being a solution for freight, which it is… but it’s most important for commuters because all of the commuters in that south metro area have a 20 per cent longer commute than any other person.”

Works taking place at Ocean Reef Road and Wanneroo Road. Picture: David Baylis d494329

Short term pain to reduce congestion in long-term at crash hot spot

Mr McGowan said the Wanneroo Road-Ocean Reef Road interchange was one of three “transformational upgrades for Wanneroo Road” to relieve congestion in Perth’s rapidly expanding northern suburbs.

“Other projects include the recently completed widening of Wanneroo Road between Joondalup Drive and Flynn Drive, and the Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive interchange, which is also currently under construction,” he said.

Ms Saffioti said traffic would increase as the population east of Wanneroo continued to grow and there had been 197 crashes at the intersection between 2013 and 2017.

“Increasing levels of congestion and demands on the intersection are creating driver frustration and the potential for poor driver behaviour,” she said.

“Funding for this project has provided an opportunity to reduce current congestion by removing traffic signals and grade separating the roads using a bridge.”

Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton said people in Wanneroo and surrounding suburbs experienced the congestion and there was overwhelming support for the project.

“Upgrades to Wanneroo Road will improve travel times and is an important component of our plans to transform the northern suburbs,” she said.

“I have had great feedback from local residents while out doorknocking the area.”

Temporary roundabout for Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road.

Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski said the community was “happy to take on a little bit of pain” during road works because upgrades would make traffic movements better in the long run.

“This will make a huge difference to motorists in my electorate, by better connecting them to work and social activities, improving safety and reducing travel times,” she said.

Mr McGowan said construction on the Yanchep Rail Extension would start later this year as part of Metronet.

Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti. Picture: David Baylis d494329