Freeway tunnel to be expanded as city develops

from ABC news

The Graham Farmer tunnel is to be expanded to three lanes in both directions to avoid gridlock

There are concerns two major developments planned for the Perth CBD will bring the city’s traffic to a standstill.

Work on the Northbridge link and the new waterfront development is expected to begin later this year forcing closures along major routes in and out of the city.

In a bid to combat the problem, the State Government intends to expand the Graham Farmer freeway tunnel to three lanes in both directions.

Curtin University’s Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman says the Government will need to increase bus and rail services to the city or risk gridlock.

“We need a lot more trains and a lot more buses,” he said.

“They are full at the moment at peak times so we need more of them so it makes it easier for people to get out of their car.”

He says Perth is at the point where it is suddenly very hard to get anywhere by car.

“Now we’ve hit the wall we have to see that this is part of growing up as a big city and you can’t go back so the only way forward is a major revamp of public transport,” he said.


1: A serious lack of long term traffic planning – the costs of adding a third lane to each side of the Graham Farmer Freeway will be huge, and it’s only been opened for a few years.  Enlargement of the tunnel would also require major changes to the ‘dogs breakfast’ of an interchange on the Leedville end of the tunnel as this struggles to cope even now.  Will this cost be included as part of the waterfront redevelopment costs I wonder?

2: Public transport is not ‘the only way forward’, cycling has the potential to make a major contribution, it just needs some serious investment in appropriate cycling infrastructure.

3: Yet the waterfront development and the Northbridge link will sever three major cycle routes into and through the city, the path along the river from the Causeway to Matilda Bay, the path along side the railway between City West and McGiver stations, and the access to the the Northern suburbs via the Milligan Street rail bridge.  More details in a later post.

4: Whilst the PCC receives ‘rent’ on every car parking bay in the city whether public or private, they cannot be expected to seriously tackle the ‘oversupply’ of city parking.  Perth has the highest ratio of car parking  of any Australian City and this is a major cause of traffic congestion in the city..  The BTA has lobbied to have the ‘parking’  funds made available to improve and add to the city cycling facilities, but the previous Minister for Transport believed that to be not within the act.  Perhaps the change of Minister will herald a change of view on this matter.

About Peter Bartlett