No rush on Perth link – Barnett

COTTESLOE MLA Colin Barnett says it could be 2019 before the Perth Freight Link (PFL) goes through North Fremantle streets of his electorate, now that the accompanying Roe 8 extension of the controversial $1.8 billion project has started in Beeliar wetlands.

“That’s a big project in itself and will take three years to build,” Mr Barnett told the Western Suburbs Weekly recently, following the start of the project last month.

“By the time that’s built, we’ll have decided on what improvements we’ll make between connecting the western end of Roe 8 and Stock Road to the inner harbour and future outer-harbour, so there is no rush.”

Alternatives from Roe 8 to North Fremantle comprise a widened Leach Highway-High Street, East Fremantle route, or a tunnel under White Gum Valley advocated by Transport Minister Dean Nalder. However, the toll truck route must eventually go through historic North Fremantle to get to Fremantle Port and at that suburb’s public meeting about the PFL in September, Mr Barnett said he had not yet seen an “elegant” solution.

“An ‘elegant’ solution is one that allows Fremantle port to operate efficiently, reduces heavy vehicle and passenger car congestion, and fills the gap until a new outer harbour is developed in Cockburn,” he said.

Last month, the State Government approved a planning control area comprising widened road reserves along North Fremantle’s Tydeman and Port Beach roads, and a new reserve across the Fremantle railway line from Stirling Highway to near Curtin Avenue that PFL critics cited as a potential route for trucks going to Cottesloe.

Mr Barnett said it had not yet been decided if the new reserves would be used for an “elegant” PFL solution through the southern end of his electorate.

Rethink the Link spokeswoman Kim Dravnieks said it appeared Mr Barnett was delaying a decision on the PFL through North Fremantle until after the State Election.

“In the time it would take to decide on the PFL through North Fremantle, the State Government could have a new outer harbour in Kwinana within a few years of running,” Ms Dravnieks said.