Years of effort to breathe new life into Fremantle may be unwound if the controversial Perth Freight Link is handled badly, the city's mayor has warned.
Brad Pettitt joined a growing chorus of concern yesterday over the $1.6 billion project, saying it could act as a funnel for thousands of extra cars and trucks without expanding the ability of Fremantle port to cope.
Under Federal and State government plans the port will be linked to Kwinana Freeway by extending Roe Highway through the Beeliar wetlands and upgrading Stock Road and Leach Highway.
Dr Pettitt said he "loved" that Fremantle had a working port and was sympathetic to moves to increase its capacity, but he was worried the project could create more problems than it solved.
Upgrades associated with the Perth Freight Link are slated to finish on the southern side of Stirling Bridge and Dr Pettitt said this would leave the critical last part of the route subject to constraints that now existed.
He said the Government would either need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more finishing the job or leave Fremantle choked in a bottleneck caused by hundreds of extra truck trips.
He also said there was a longer term risk that people could be cut off from central Fremantle amid doubts over whether the traffic bridge along Queen Victoria Street would be replaced or phased out.
"My fear is you end up with a freight bypass around Fremantle that makes it very hard to get into the centre," Dr Pettitt said.
"We've been putting in so much effort trying to bring Fremantle back to life economically. This is one of those macro issues that could undo a lot of that good work."
His remarks came as Transport Minister Dean Nalder denied he had changed his mind over plans to demolish homes in Palmyra for the link, saying he had always intended to look at other options.