Tolls could break link

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

CURTIN Univer­sity sus­tain­abil­ity re­searchers say trucks will use Curtin Av­enue and Stir­ling High­way to avoid pay­ing tolls on the first stage of the $1.6 bil­lion Perth Freight Link (PFL) from Fre­man­tle Port.

“This will cause fur­ther con­ges­tion on these roads and neg­a­tively im­pact on the street-fronting busi­nesses, while also cre­at­ing yet more po­lit­i­cal im­pe­tus to make Stir­ling High­way into a wider sixlane through-fare,” Pro­fes­sor Peter New­man and Cole Hen­dri­gan said in their June 6 dis­cus­sion pa­per.

PFL con­struc­tion from Bi­bra Lake to six lanes at East Fre­man­tle starts early next year, with the re­main­der through North Fre­man­tle, cost­ing about $500 mil­lion, yet to be an­nounced.

The pa­per said the PFL changed decades of plan­ning that evenly split an es­ti­mated two mil­lion con­tainer move­ments on trucks in Perth in 2050 be­tween Fre­man­tle Port and the can­celled Kwinana Outer Har­bour that was to op­er­ate from about 2022.

Fre­man­tle Port Au­thor­ity fig­ures show truck con­tainer trips where the western sub­urbs could be a route ac­counted for about 18 per cent of about 700,000 con­tain­ers in 2011.

Pro­fes­sor New­man and Dr Hen­dri­gan want the PFL orig­i­nal Bi­bra Lake-Kwinana route and said tak­ing it to North Fre­man­tle could reignite de­bate for the stalled Stephen­son High­way, across the Town of Cam­bridge to the Mitchell Free­way, to cope with toll-avoid­ing trucks.

They said get­ting to cur­rent and pro­posed Leighton Penin­sula beach hous­ing would be “very lim­ited” when an es­ti­mated 13,000 trucks car­ry­ing about two mil­lion con­tainer move­ments could be go­ing to the cur­rent port on the PFL by 2050.

Re­think Perth Freight Link co­con­venor Sam Wain­wright said a North Fre­man­tle PFL would also put more cars into the western sub­urbs, with driv­ers tak­ing an al­ter­na­tive to the Kwinana Free­way.

Be­fore her coun­cil dis­cussed the PFL last Mon­day, Cottes­loe Mayor Jo Dawkins said she would only com­ment af­ter “get­ting the facts”, but she would be “sur­prised” if the State Gov­ern­ment did not re­strict truck driv­ers us­ing PFL al­ter­na­tives.

Cam­bridge Mayor Si­mon Withers said it was il­log­i­cal to pro­pose res­ur­rect­ing the Stephen­son High­way idea when the PFL’s toll showed gov­ern­ments had no money for more road-build­ing, and the re­searchers should have dis­cussed stop­ping trucks on western sub­urbs routes.

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