Airport link lifts noise complaints
THE trouble-plagued Forrestfield Airport Link project has been blamed for a 250 per cent surge in complaints about aircraft noise.
Airservices Australia said 423 households in Perth lodged complaints about aircraft noise between July and September, compared with 119 in the previous quarter and 148 in the same period last year.
Gripes came from 64 suburbs across the metropolitan area, including Rivervale (60 complaints), Belmont (59), Carlisle (30), Victoria Park (27), Kensington (26), South Perth (26) and Kewdale (22).
The main reason for the increase was changes to flight paths because of runway closures caused by tunnelling for the airport rail line.
Airservices said 73 per cent of complainants were affected by the changes.
There had been 612 complainants as of the end of September, compared with 668 for the whole of 2017.
“The Forrestfield-Airport Link project involves tunnelling under the airfield and runways at Perth Airport,” she said. “To enable certain stages of the project, both the main runway and the cross runway have experienced restrictions throughout September and November.
“In fact, the main runway is currently on restricted usage.”
The decision to build the $1.8 billion project — earmarked for completion by 2020 — was taken by the former LiberalNational government.
In recent months, construction of the 8km twin-bored tunnel has been hit by sinkholes, cracking and flooding.
This comes as the McGowan Government investigates whether parts of the proposed Morley-Ellenbrook rail line could run underground.
But Transport Minister Rita Saffioti told The Sunday Times that problems with the airport link project showed tunnelling “does not necessarily stack up in Perth where the terrain is particularly sandy”.
“The Forrestfield-Airport Link has proven what we always thought — that tunnelling in Perth’s soil conditions is extremely challenging and more volatile compared with rockier terrains,” she said.