17/12/2014 - 11:13

Freight Link confirmed as WA’s first toll road

17/12/2014 - 11:13

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The state government will invest an additional $591 million to deliver the Perth Freight Link, including the Roe 8 extension, by 2019, with a plan to fund the investment through the first heavy vehicle user charge in the Perth metropolitan area.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

The state government will invest an additional $591 million to deliver the Perth Freight Link, including the Roe 8 extension, by 2019, with a plan to fund the investment through the first heavy vehicle user charge in the Perth metropolitan area.

The funding, which comes on top of $59 million already committed to the project, will be augmented by $925 million from the federal government.

The project will include the construction of Roe 8 through the Beeliar Wetlands, upgrades to Stock Road and to Fremantle’s High Street.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2016, and will link in with the existing Gateway WA Project and Perth-to-Darwin Highway upgrade.

The project is expected to cut 9.5 minutes off a trip from the Kwinana Freeway to Fremantle, saving about $8.15 in freight costs per trip.

The state government's costs will mostly be recouped by a charge on heavy vehicles using the road.

Premier Colin Barnett said the government’s cost benefit analysis showed a return of $2.80 for every dollar invested.

“The Perth Freight Link will complete the strategic link in Perth’s road network by creating an east-west freight connection between Kewdale, Fremantle Port and southern industrial areas,” he said.

“This project will result in improved safety for all road users, reduced traffic congestion, fewer trucks on urban roads and significant freight industry productivity improvements.

“All works on the Perth Freight Link should be completed by mid-2019, with some of the infrastructure due to open by mid-2017 - including the first leg of the Roe Highway extension.”

Main Roads WA has forecast demand of up to 75,000 vehicles per day in 2031.

Delivery of the project would follow decades of discussion, with the idea conceived in 1963 as part of a Perth ring road.

In the 1990s, the state government revised the masterplan to remove the portion west of Stock Road, and in the 2008 election, the coalition promised delivery of the road to lessen congestion on Leach Highway.

Environmental groups have previously expressed opposition to the construction of the road through the Beeliar wetlands, but the state government has announced it will purchase 400 hectares of native vegetation to offset any impact.

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers speculated that tolls would eventually be extended to all vehicles.

“Real public transport projects are being ignored over road projects without any proper cost-benefit analysis," Mr Travers said.

“Mr Barnett just doesn’t care about the future infrastructure needs of Perth.”

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