Bridge plan could cost $10b
Congestion: The RAC wants a new bridge to beat the gridlock. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

A new traffic bridge across the Swan River from Bicton to Dalkeith could cost up to $10 billion, making it WA's most expensive transport project if it goes ahead.

Transport expert and Curtin University professor Peter Newman said yesterday the bridge would be a "ridiculous" waste of money and do little to solve Perth's congestion woes.

A new Swan River crossing featured on the RAC's transport "wish list", submitted to the two major political parties this week ahead of the March State election. The RAC, WA's leading motoring body, believes an extra crossing should be looked at to ease congestion in Perth and move north-south traffic around the city, rather than through it.

One proposed option for a bridge would be a crossing between Stock Road in Bicton and Dalkeith. First raised in the Stephenson and Hepburn plan for the Perth metropolitan area in 1955, the new highway would span about one kilometre across the river and continue through Nedlands, linking up to West Coast Highway, Swanbourne.

But Professor Newman said the plan was not economically viable.

"It would cost the State billions just to acquire the land they need on either side," he said.

"That's billions spent before construction even begins - all up $10 billion could be the end figure."

City of Nedlands mayor Max Hipkins said a traffic bridge was "out of the question" as far as the council was concerned. "No, I don't support a major highway going through one of Perth's most prestigious suburbs," he said. "A traffic bridge and the noise and disruption that come with it would destroy Dalkeith as we know it."

City of Melville mayor Russell Aubrey said a crossing posed funding, planning and environmental issues. "These would need to be investigated and resolved before determining its feasibility, which appear to make it non-viable from my perspective," he said.

Premier Colin Barnett ruled out a feasibility study yesterday and said he did not see another river crossing as a transport priority.

"The major considerations now are expanding the freeways and dealing with some very congested intersections . . . and also projects like the light rail going from Perth out to Mirrabooka," he said.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said Labor's priority was to get more people on to trains.


The West Australian

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