AFTER six months’ deliberation, the Mitchell Freeway Extension Community Working Group has recommended almost $400 million worth of work over the next nine years to fix the northern suburbs’ worsening traffic problems.
A strategic business case released today recommends a staged approach, including immediate intersection improvements at 10 spots (2013-2015) and extending the freeway from Burns Beach Road to Hester Avenue (2015-2017).
The report recommends a further freeway extension by building an expressway from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road, Alkimos, from 2017 to 2021.
The group narrowed its deliberations to six options, eventually agreeing on a plan that would “get local traffic working better” and boost local employment opportunities, particularly in the Neerabup industrial area, which is set to grow.
Members also wanted to make sure the area could cope with plans to move at least 600 State Government staff from the Perth CBD to Joondalup.
Group chairman Albert Jacob said projections showing western Burns Beach Road would carry more vehicles than the Mitchell Freeway by 2021 – without the work – was the most compelling reason for its recommendations.
“Burns Beach Road (western part) at the moment carries 27,300 vehicles a day. By 2021, if the recommendations are not picked up, this will increase to 37,100 vehicles,” he said.
“The Mitchell Freeway (currently) carries 35,900 vehicles a day.”
The Ocean Reef MLA is confident the case, thrashed out at meetings and workshops since May, will find favour with Transport Minister Troy Buswell, who received the findings from Mr Jacob and deputy chairman Paul Miles last week.
“We have done the work to show this is needed and we now have the empirical evidence in numbers,” he said of the report,” he said.
“Even if we had $300 million next week (for the initial stages), we would still need to start a consultative process so we are a year in already.”
The report recommends intersection improvements at spots such as Marmion-Hester avenues, Wanneroo Road-Hester Avenue, Burns Beach Road-Connolly Drive, Burns Beach Road-Mitchell Freeway and Wanneroo Road-Joondalup Drive.
The long-awaited Mitchell Freeway extension from Burns Beach Road to Hester Avenue should include half-diamond interchanges (similar to Erindale Road) at Neerabup Road and Hester Avenue, the group recommends.
This stage should also include extending and completing Neerabup Road to connect to Flynn Drive (4.5km) and completing duplication of Hester Avenue from Connolly Drive to Wanneroo Road.
A further stage, to extend the freeway as an expressway from Hester Avenue to Romeo Road, should also include extending Romeo Road as a two-lane arterial road 2km from Marmion Avenue to the Mitchell Freeway.
Mr Jacob said an expressway would offer two lanes in each direction and a 100km/h speed limit, but required fewer earthworks and had a higher safety rating.
Further work to complete the duplication of Wanneroo Road and duplicate Connolly Drive from Neerabup Road to Hester Avenue has a suggested 2027-2029 timeline but is not included in the budget of about $392million.