02/04/2008 - 22:00

Road retrofit spells trouble

02/04/2008 - 22:00


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When we think of battles between industry and residents we often think of static sites.

Road retrofit spells trouble

When we think of battles between industry and residents we often think of static sites.

Factories, plants or mines are the usual suspects, dealing with a particular community in its surrounds.

But transport and distribution, outside of the obvious case of airports, is a sector that also comes into conflict, and often comes off second best.

When the state government, driven by an election, promised to take big trucks off a certain stretch of Leach Highway, it didn’t affect one business but, most likely, hundreds, if not thousands.

In delivering on that promise it has cost the trucking sector, including many owner-operators, an estimated $20 million a year, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.

That staggering amount is just on the fuel costs associated with requiring freight to redirected.

It will no doubt flow on to the business the trucks service and, ultimately, the consumer.

“This populist decision highlights the government’s failure to develop a holistic heavy vehicle transport network linking Fremantle Port to Perth’s key industrial areas,” CCIWA said in a statement.

“There has been little progress on this front since the government scrapped plans to build Roe Highway to the coast and deleted the Fremantle Eastern Bypass from the Metropolitan Region Scheme.” Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the issues around Leach Highway stemmed from previous retrofitting of what was a main street to become a highway.

Ms MacTiernan said the encroachment of transport corridors, such as the inner metropolitan highways, was something to be avoided with the next generation of key roads such as the Roe and Tonkin highways.

She said development close to those roads had made them poor transport corridors, but new issues were arising on road reserves on the metropolitan fringes (see main story).

“We have to protect those roads, we can’t have them become like Canning and Leach,” Ms MacTiernan told WA Business News.


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