Govt and Greens fight over highway plan

WA Govt and the Greens lock horns over plan to extend the Roe Highway to meet traffic demand

April 23, 2010

The Western Australian Government and Greens are locked in a bitter stoush over extending the Roe Highway to meet growing traffic demands.

Transport Minister Simon O’Brien today released the findings of a report from GHD and Meyrick advocating upgrades to the highway.

The consultancy firms anticipate Western Australia’s population increasing by 150,000 by 2035 and general traffic movements skyrocketing in-line with economic growth.

The report concluded the extension will support 79,000 vehicle movements per day by 2031, reduce traffic on critical sections of South Street by nearly 20 per cent and Leach Highway by about 10 per cent.

The Minister says Main Roads advice also suggests construction of the Roe Highway Extension will reduce heavy vehicle movements on Leach Highway by 19 percent per day and by more than 50 percent on South Street by 2031.

But Greens MP Lynn MacLaren claims local residents oppose the highway extension and want freight shifted to rail.

"We will not be sold down the river by a Minister for Transport who fails to deliver genuine and sustainable transport solutions, such as shifting freight from trucks barrelling down Leach Highway onto rail and of course investment in passenger rail and buses," she says.

However 73 percent of residents support the highway extension, according to the report.

O’Brien says independent analysis of Perth’s southern road network paints a "nightmarish scenario" for people living and commuting through the southern suburbs, unless the proposed extension is built.

MacLaren claims people opposing the highway were ignored during the consultation process, adding that the extension will damage fragile land.

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