Main Roads downplays traffic fears: Cottesloe

MAIN Roads told Cottesloe councillors there was nothing to fear from trucks spilling into their town from Port Beach Road if a $4 billion route including the controversial $1.6b Perth Freight Link (PFL) to Fremantle Port is complete.

“Container trucks travelling on Port Beach Road (are) currently two per cent of all vehicles – no change with the PFL,” Main Road staff said at the recent briefing.

PFL critics, including Cottesloe councillors Jack Walsh, Sally Pyvis and Jay Birnbrauer, have cited Main Roads’ estimates of up to 42 per cent of trucks “leaking” from major routes to streets. It is feared a greater percentage of the 13,200 trucks estimated to use the PFL by 2030 will go through Cottesloe to avoid a toll.

Main Roads staff said 42 per cent was a “conservative” estimate for the PFL’s business case, there was no incentive for more trucks to come north from the port, and container trucks would not increase because the PFL was designed for projected vehicle numbers and not to increase traffic volumes.

Cr Walsh said he was still not convinced more trucks would not use the already congested route because Main Roads’ staff “skirted around” his four questions at the briefing about if the heavy vehicles’ use of Curtin Avenue would be controlled.

“They are planning that when the PFL is finished, the trucks that go north from Rous Head will continue to go through here,” Cr Walsh said.

Main Roads has $40 million to realign Curtin Avenue inland, between the Victoria Street and North Fremantle train stations, from 2017-18. and the briefing showed previous designs for realignment’s potential two-lane northerly continuation past the town centre.

Last month, the council restarted investigating how to plan for houses on any spare railway land along the route, and how to better connect the town centre with trains and public transport.

Mayor Jo Dawkins said the council had to work with both Main Roads and the Public Transit Authority about the future of Curtin Avenue and using adjacent railway land for infill housing, but the council’s preference was still to sink part of the rail line.

“On the PFL, because there is one view that it will remove trucks from local roads, we as a local council would be irresponsible if we did not consider it,” Mrs Dawkins said.