24/03/2011 - 00:00

Gateway WA tops roadworks priorities

24/03/2011 - 00:00

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BUSINESSES and motoring groups are urging the state government to move quickly on the Gateway WA project, with the aim of alleviating traffic congestion on the road network surrounding Perth Airport.

Gateway WA tops roadworks priorities

BUSINESSES and motoring groups are urging the state government to move quickly on the Gateway WA project, with the aim of alleviating traffic congestion on the road network surrounding Perth Airport.

At a proposed cost of $700 million, the Gateway WA project will include a series of road and bridge improvements on the Tonkin and Leach highways.

RAC head of member advocacy Matt Brown said Gateway WA was the most important road infrastructure project for WA and that it could not afford any further delays.

“I think the state has been caught napping by the rapid growth in our population and the enormous growth in our economy. The road network has not grown to match the rapidly growing population and economy, so now we are playing catch up,” Mr Brown said.

Gateway WA has coincided with the $500 million upgrade of the domestic and international airport terminals – to be carried out over the next three years – and the steadily increasing number of passenger, freight and transport movements within the airport area.

The current road network is experiencing significant traffic volumes with about 60,000 vehicles using Tonkin Highway daily.

Welshpool-based Goldstar Transport director Sean Carren said the performance of businesses that operated in the area was suffering because of the congestion.

“Every delivery we do from Welshpool into the airport area is on a timeslot delivery. If we miss deliveries or are late, it has a huge impact on our business. The traffic congestion just crucifies us,” Mr Carren told WA Business News.

A report released by consulting firm Booz and Company said passenger movements to and from Perth Airport were expected to double between 2005 and 2030.

In addition, the report showed that transport by private car was the preferred mode used to access the airport, with 80 per cent of people driving and less than 2 per cent catching public transport.

Westralia Airports Corporation CEO Brad Geatches said the morning and evening metropolitan traffic peaks were most problematic for passengers getting to and from the airport.

“Failure to deliver the project in a timely manner will see it become increasingly difficult to access the airport, particularly for international visitors whose flights arrive around the time of the city’s evening peak hour,” Mr Geatches said.

The planning phase for Gateway WA has started, with joint venture consultants GHD and BG&E being awarded a $6.85 million contract in July of last year to undertake an 18-month planning study.

The state government has committed $89 million to the project, with the federal government having pledged $480 million at the last election. These monies are in addition to Nation Building Program (NBP) funds of $177 million ($89 million state, $88 million federal) already committed to road improvement projects along Tonkin Highway.

Construction on Gateway WA is expected to start in early 2013.

Several other major urban road projects are being undertaken by the state government.

City East Alliance, comprising Leighton Contractors, GHD and NRW, will design and construct the $225 million six-lane upgrade of the Great Eastern Highway between Kooyong Road and Tonkin Highway.

A $74 million project to build a new grade-separated interchange at the intersection of Great Eastern Highway and Roe Highway is under way, which will enable Roe Highway traffic to flow freely over Great Eastern Highway via a bridge.

Macmahon Contractors were awarded the design and construction contract for the project, which is likely to be completed by May 2012.

In addition, major works have started on the construction of an overpass at one of WA’s most notorious black spots at the intersection of Reid Highway and Alexander Drive.

The $45 million project is due for completion by the middle of this year.

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