The Barnett government has made another change to its plans to expand High Street—and this one involves bulldozing up to 12 houses to make the road six lanes wide.
Following years of at-times tortuous consultation with locals, the council and government agencies, a four-lane option was decided on but that’s now changed.
WA Main Roads is set to release plans Wednesday that show it wants to dig a trench wide enough to allow six lanes. It means homes on both sides of High Street between Montreal Street and Stirling Highway have a date some time down the track with the wrecking ball.
It could also see even more land sliced off the private and public golf clubs.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says six lanes is overkill.
“The Stirling Bridge is only four lanes, Stock Road is only four lanes,” he says.
“So unless there is a serious $2 billion plan to go six lanes from Fremantle Port to Roe Highway then I think this is overkill and just sacrifices more of the A-class reserve for no benefit.”
Fremantle state Labor MP Simone McGurk says Main Roads’ constant shifting of the goal posts is illustrative of a government that doesn’t know what it’s doing.
“This week in parliament I highlighted the government’s mismanagement of the road upgrade,” she told the Herald.
“Transport minister Troy Buswell admitted in parliament that the government had previously made a decision to delay the project.
“The project is being held up not to get the design right, but because the Barnett government can’t control its finances.”
Road to Rail campaigner Barry Healy says the new plans demonstrate the government’s contempt for Fremantle.
“We reached agreement with Main Roads for a four-lane upgrade only,” he says.
“The agenda of this government is to increase the capacity of our residential road network to move container freight, while ignoring existing rail and shipping capacity.”
A community workshop on the new plans is on September 25 at Stevens Reserve at the corner of Swanbourne and Stevens Streets, Fremantle
FERN convenor Louise Edmonds, whose home at the corner of Montreal and High Street will be flattened under the plan, says locals won’t be “bullied by Troy Buswell’s road-building cartel”.
“We will have a six-lane highway in a decade, Roe 8 will cut through our wetlands, and our community will be gridlocked in carcinogenic diesel particulates,” she gloomily predicted.
by BRENDAN FOSTER