Nationals candidate Shane Van Styn has announced Geronet, a $16 million truck bypass he says can start in less than 12 months and avert the looming crisis of a truck travelling through Geraldton every 12 minutes when Wheatstone and Gorgon start construction.
Leveraging the massive debate between the major parties in Perth over the Metronet train network, Mr Van Styn claims his Geronet is simple and quick and would trump a plan by Liberal candidate Ian Blayney to build an $80 million truck bypass that would not happen for at least four years.
Contractor Craig Patterson of Central Earthmoving confirmed to The Guardian yesterday the plan to divert the trucks at Rudds Gully Road, then up Goulds or Edwards Road, left on Horwood Road and then out Flores Road to rejoin the North West Coastal Highway could be built for as little as $16 million (see side story).
Mr Blayney admitted the State Government’s current plans would not see a bypass built before Gorgon and Wheatstone and said their solution would instead be to stop truck traffic between 7 and 10am.
Despite the pressure on the roads and potential danger, Mr Blayney said the Government would prefer to build an interim solution using existing roads and then a major $330 million bypass in line with the Oakajee corridor.
“We would do that in first instance, use existing roads, widening, create a new section of road across top of Morrell Road to Oakajee, if do that when the railway is going in we will save money on earthworks,” Mr Blayney said.
“This won’t be in place for Gorgon, first thing we will be doing is keeping trucks off the roads between 7am to 10am.
“This will reduce the problem a lot.”
Mr Van Styn disagreed. “Great, so we will have trucks backed up all the way down the highway?” he said.
“We already have Oakajee as a long-term, grand vision that everyone is tired of waiting on and Geraldton does not need another long-term uncertain project when there are urgent projects needing funding right now,” Mr Van Styn said.
Mr Van Styn said even $80 million for an interim solution was “ridiculous”.
“We need to get trucks out of the City now,” Mr Van Styn said
“We also need to consider local businesses that rely on through traffic and tourists.
“To have all traffic bypass Geraldton would devastate these businesses. My proposal solves the truck traffic problem, looks after local businesses and leaves a significant amount of money for priorities such as the Geraldton hospital.
“Last week Labor stripped money out of Oakajee and now we have the Liberals, with Labor support, proposing a massive $330 million Geraldton bypass to service Oakajee, while neglecting the Geraldton Hospital.
“Clearly both city parties have no coherent vision for Geraldton.”
Mr Van Styn said his Geronet would take six to nine months to design and 12 to 15 months to build.
“This will be a City road not Main Roads and it will not have to remove the rock or put in extra lanes like the Southern Transport Corridor did so the STC is not a fair comparison,” he said.“The land required is all in City ownership too so a lot more ready to go than big bypass that requires acquisitions and major major works.”
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.