Highway ban fuels port push

09 Mar, 2005 10:00 PM
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THE State Government is planning to ban heavy trucks using the Leach Highway and South Street by the end of this year, after completion of the Roe Highway extension to Kwinana Freeway.

The planned ban would mean trucks travelling to Fremantle would use the extended Roe Highway before reaching the Kwinana Freeway then rejoining Leach Highway.

Livestock Transporters Association president John Mitchell said the plan would not be a big drama, however there still needed to be an adequate link from the highway to Fremantle ports.

"The livestock transport industry wants free flowing roads that aren't in contact with too many local commuters," Mr Mitchell said.

"Fremantle is too densely populated."

Mr Mitchell said the problem with the proposed extension of Roe Highway was that it would create a bottle neck effect, with a big volume of transport vehicles travelling at 80 km an hour coming to a grinding halt when entering Fremantle.

Mr Mitchell said the real answer for livestock transporters was to develop the proposed Port at James Point in Kwinana, which would reduce the problems with congestion experienced at the Fremantle ports.

WA Live Exporters Association chairman John Edwards agreed with Mr Mitchell, saying that the development of the proposed James Point port in Kwinana would provide substantial benefits to both livestock transporters and animal welfare.

"The James Point port would greatly shorten the amount of time animals had to spend in transport," Mr Edwards said.

Mr Edwards said that the Labor Government had put the planning process for James point on hold and it was something that needed addressing.

Premier Geoff Gallop said the plan to only extend Roe highway to Kwinana freeway deals not only with the immediate issues concerning people that live in the area, but also has the longer term objective of getting the planned southern container terminal in place and putting more freight on trains.

"My government will take heavy vehicles off Leach Highway east of the freeway to Albany Highway, and off South Street east of the freeway to Roe Highway," Dr Gallop said.

"Already we have seen substantial traffic reductions because of the completion of Roe Highway stages 4, 5 and 6, and the shift from road to rail.

"Truck traffic on Leach Highway has fallen by 14pc, and general traffic by almost 11pc."

With the combination of Roe Highway-Kwinana Freeway link, and the completion of the southern suburbs rail line by the end of next year, large articulated vehicles such as semi-trailers and road trains will not be permitted on these roads, except where they are required for local deliveries.

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