Air­port link lifts noise com­plaints

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - PETER LAW

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.

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