East Freo, Bicton, Melville and Attadale residents told to expect more toxic exhaust from Roe 9 tunnel traffic

This image shows predicted toxic diesel fumes over and beyond East Fremantle.
This image shows predicted toxic diesel fumes over and beyond East Fremantle.

RESIDENTS have been told to expect more toxic diesel exhaust in East Fremantle, Bicton, Melville and Attadale from the proposed Perth Freight Link’s (PFL) Roe 9 tunnel.

“It makes East Fremantle one of the most disadvantaged suburbs in Perth because you will be at the end of a diesel freeway and that’s not why you’ve come here, not why you’ve invested here, not why you have your homes here,” UWA allied health assistant professor Sajni Gidka told a meeting of about 120 residents at Sweetwater Rooftop Bar last night.

Dr Gidka said all diesel exhaust produced cancer-causing particles, which the Australian Institute of Health estimated contributes to up to 3000 premature deaths nationally each year.

She said particles ranging from 100th to 1000th of a millimetre reacted with sunlight, absorbed other toxic gases, and were inhaled “right to the bottom of the lungs” like tobacco smoke.

North-south toll freight could be given priority at East Fremantle traffic lights, leaving east-west vehicles waiting idle producing exhaust fumes in congestion.

Dr Gidka said modelling of Roe 9’s effect could not be trusted when a review of noise from the Roe 8 found it had been designed without correct noise prevention, no consideration of more trucks by 2031, and incorrect figures for day and night port traffic.

She said WA need ground level pollution monitors and updated clean air laws.

East Fremantle is now in the new Liberal-marginal seat of Bicton, which could be vital in any change or keeping of Government after the March 11 State Election.

If re-elected, Premier Colin Barnett has proposed a 3km, $900m Roe 9 freight and car tunnel to Stirling Highway, about 1km south of East Fremantle.

PFL planning obtained by the Labor Party indicated Roe 9 could treble the cost of the PFL to $5.8 billion.

The documents indicated trucks increasing from 3800 to 5600, with about half of the 70,000 cars also powered by diesel, at Stirling Bridge, East Fremantle daily in 2021.

It is unclear if dangerous truck loads, comprising a claimed 5 per cent to 45 per cent of port traffic, would not use Roe 9.

Transport Minister Bill Marmion has been contacted for comment.