Words by: Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
The second stage of the Perth Freight Link, which would see Perth’s industrial eastern suburbs linked to the Fremantle Port, is set to be postponed.
The Barnett government’s $1.6 billon Freight Link venture has come under fire after a report from the Labor Party revealed that the Freight Link required a new $250 million traffic and rail bridge to be built in Fremantle.
The report in question is a 2012 government submission to Infrastructure Australia, which detailed serious concerns with the safety of the existing Fremantle Bridge, and stated the need for a new bridge to accommodate the container traffic leading into Fremantle ports, which is due to build up to 1.2 million by 2023.
Premier Colin Barnett has stated that the government was set on completing Roe 8 through the Beeliar Wetlands, but was as yet undecided about the time or circumstance of proceeding with the second stage of the freight link to the Fremantle port.
“It is a very complex transport issue, made complex because the Labor government sold the land that had been preserved for decades to give a straightforward access to the port,” he said.
“So you can’t get away from that, that’s the problem we face.”
The consequences of the Perth Freight Link have already included the potential acquisition of homes along the route, which has understandably resulted in a backlash from residents.
The construction of a new bridge in Fremantle would consequently result in the demolition of the current bridge, which was built in 1939. Labor leader Mark McGowan has said that the Liberal government’s plans to build a new bridge would make traffic congestion worse and would stint the growth of Fremantle ports.
“We haven’t put it off because we haven’t decided yet. We haven’t got to the stage of deciding how we will get access from the Roe Highway to the port. That’s what we’re going through now,” Mr Barnett stated.
“When we get to the answer, we’ll make a decision.”