CONSTRUCTION of the $118 million upgrade of High Street finally kicked off this week.
Decades of political bickering over the 1.5km stretch between Carrington Street and Stirling Highway were put aside as a federal Liberal minister, WA Labor premier and Greens mayor ceremonially turned the first sod on Wednesday.
Standing where Muzz Buzz coffee once stood, federal urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge said building the road would create hundreds of new jobs, while making it safer for motorists.
“We also know that this intersection has become notorious for truck rollovers and the upgrade will mean a safer journey for local and truck drivers,” Mr Tudge said.
Premier Mark McGowan said it was the start of a big year of infrastructure in WA, headlined by its flagship Metronet public transport system.
“We welcome the input of the City of Fremantle and the local community, who have helped shape the concept design and ensured that the project will move forward with strong support,” Mr McGowan said.
The project will involve a new roundabout at the intersection with Stirling Highway, a wide median strip so a stand of mature tuart trees can be retained, a slip road for residents and two underpasses for pedestrians and cyclists.
Netballers will get some dedicated parking without the dangerous dash across High Street, but golfers at the city’s public links will lose their car park under a proposed new layout forced by Main Roads taking a chunk of their land along High Street.
Semi-decent golfers won’t need much more than a pitching wedge to hit the green on a significantly shortened first hole – which at 100 metres is about half the length of the trudge they’ll now face between the flag on the fourth and the tee on the fifth.
The course’s clubrooms will also move to a shared community facility on Booyeembara Park under the plan.
Fremantle Labor MP Simone McGurk said after the “debacle” of the Perth Freight Link and “inaction” by the Barnett government (perhaps forgetting the bulldozers) “we’re getting on with delivering the High Street upgrade”.
“It has been carefully planned to deliver maximum community amenity including two pedestrian and cyclist underpasses, a local access road and improved parking for Gibson Park, and retention of over 70 per cent of mature trees,” Ms McGurk said.
by STEVE GRANT