TRANSPORT Minister Dean Nalder has indicated it will be 10 years before a single new intersection comprising the last stage of the Perth Freight Link (PFL) across the Swan River into Premier Colin Barnett’s Cottesloe electorate at North Fremantle is needed.
“Main Roads have done modelling which indicates with small capital costs at the Canning Highway and Stirling Highway intersection that work will not be required until 2026,” Mr Nalder said in response to Western Suburbs Weekly questions about funding and planning for the PFL over the river, through North Fremantle and to Fremantle Port.
PFL support was bolstered last week when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $260 million for a proposed 3km, $325m tunnel from Hilton to East Fremantle, 1km south of the river, to avoid a highly opposed overground route for the 16km PFL.
After National Party opposition stalled the proposed $2 billion sale of the port, the PFL will now cost about $1.9 billion to cut several minutes from the time to truck a container to a Forrestfield train terminal,
Rethink the Link spokeswoman Kim Dravnieks said a tunnel remained uncertain because it could need a Metropolitan Regional Scheme amendment in Parliament, and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettit said it did not solve the “main problem” of truck congestion after they emerged in East Fremantle.
Mr Nalder said modifying the Stirling-Canning highways intersection would manage tunnel traffic over Stirling Bridge, and tunnel details would be provided in community consultation in “coming weeks and months”.
However, there being no details about the PFL’s final stage annoyed some North Fremantle residents.
“If they are not doing anything for 10 years they’re not actually improving truck access to the port because this is a choke point, so they’d better get off their arses and do something about starting to build a new outer harbour in Kwinana,” North Fremantle Residents Association convenor Gerard MacGill said.
Mr MacGill said voters deserved answers about the third stage before the 2017 State Election because it was also planned to realign the southern end of Curtin Avenue from Cottesloe by 2018, leaving North Fremantle potentially “imprisoned” between truck routes.
Resident Ann Forma said 30 years of “hard work” creating North Fremantle’s heritage centre was now “seriously jeopardised”.