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Labor plans circle freeway for smooth run
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan with Reece Whitby on Tonkin Highway. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

A circle freeway allowing uninterrupted travel across Perth on four major roads would be created as part of Labor’s $3.8 billion Metronet plan.

As Transport Minister Troy Buswell and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan continued to trade blows over Labor’s $3.8 billion costing of Metronet, Mr McGowan today rolled out the latest piece of its key transport pledge.

Mr McGowan said the planned Circle Freeway would remove all 10 traffic lights from the Kwinana Freeway to Perth Airport, Tonkin Highway to Reid Highway and back across to the Mitchell Freeway.

He said instead the lights would be replaced by five overpasses along Reid and Tonkin Highways at Erindale Road, Malaga Drive, Benara Road, Morley Drive and Collier Road, with the remaining intersections reconfigured to become freeway exits.

Upgrades would also occur to the Reid Highway and Mitchell Freeway intersection, with the works to complement the new road networks currently being built under the $1 billion joint State and Federal Government Gateway project.

“This Circle Freeway is a welcome consequence of Metronet,” Mr McGowan said.

Mr McGowan said the Circle Freeway was incorporated into the $1.48 billion cost of the proposed North Circle and Ellenbrook lines and fell under the total $3.8 billion price tag Labor had put on the Metronet project.

The work would take place concurrently, with an estimated completion date of mid-2018, he said.

“When you put in place the North Circle line and the Ellenbrook Line you remove a range of the traffic lights,” he said.

“When you remove those traffic lights you actually create a freeway. So, what are currently highways are converted to become a freeway.”
Mr McGowan said poor planning and a growing population had led to a congestion crisis.

He said as well as decreasing travel times for motorists who opted not to travel on the new train lines but commute by car, the Circle Freeway would improve safety at five of the 10 worst intersections for crashes in Perth.

Mr Buswell today again questioned Labor’s $3.8 million estimate for its five “priority” projects under Metronet after on Friday challenging Mr McGowan to submit the plan to Treasury for analysis.

However, Mr Buswell again refused to release the advice he received from Treasury that costed Labor’s airport link at $860 million more than what Labor had estimated.

Labor has indicated it will lodge a Freedom of Information request for the advice, which Mr McGowan has described as an abuse of process by Mr Buswell.