WA Labor makes $60m pledge for proposed Stephenson Hwy

WA Labor makes $60m pledge for proposed Stephenson Hwy

THE western suburbs may have to deal with more traffic from a new proposed Stephenson Highway that the Labor Party yesterday committed $60 million towards.

“That’s a bridge they are going to have to cross when it happens, but we’ve all got our issues in council areas,” City of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano said when asked if the road would reignite pressure to build other parts of Stephenson Highway.

The commitment pays for half of a $119 million, 1.4km extension of Stephenson Avenue, Woodlands through a marshy reserve southeast of Ikea, Innaloo, and over the Mitchell Freeway.

Cr Italiano said the Labor and Liberal parties had not replied to his letters seeking a commitment to the extension, claimed to cut Scarborough Beach Road traffic by 40 per cent.

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Fears about remaining Stephenson Highway sections becoming a heavy northeast route were raised by Perth Freight Link (PFL) opponents because container traffic through Cottesloe is expected to treble to about 900 vehicles daily by 2030 if Fremantle Port is privatised.

Cr Italiano said extending Stephenson Avenue was not intended to be part of any truck route but it would service the touted 40,000 jobs created by the planned Stirling City Centre.

Labor’s commitment depends on the City finding the remaining $60 million from the Federal Government and local businesses, with work anticipated to start in 2019-20.

Labor leader Mark McGowan said the extension would “strategically alleviate congestion” on Scarborough Beach Road and adjacent routes that were at “breaking point” near Westfield Innaloo and Osborne Park.

Labor proposes to fund the extension by cancelling the PFL’s controversial Roe 8, which it claims is backed by legal advice saying scrapping the contracts can be done without significant penalty.

Three years ago, the State Government rejected a $300 million version of the Stephenson extension, prompting Stirling’s remodelling and a new design with no grade separation at its Scarborough Beach Road intersection.

Premier Colin Barnett has said the extension could compete for funds from a $3 billion windfall from his proposed $11b sale of Western Power.

The Liberal Party did not reply to questions before deadline yesterday.