Upgrades to the Denny Avenue intersection will begin within two years after the Federal Government agreed to redirect funds intended for the Perth Freight Link to the Labor Government’s infrastructure plan.
The Turnbull and McGowan governments agreed on the funding package as part of the Federal Government’s 2018-19 budget, which will see more than $1.6 billion come to WA from Canberra for road and rail infrastructure.
The State Government will also commit $745 million for road and rail work.
The announcement came after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in March that federal funds for the Freight Link would not be re-allocated to alternative infrastructure projects under a Labor government.
Of the combined $2.3 billion, $62 million was allocated to a project to separate road from rail at the Denny Avenue intersection something that had been recognised as a major issue in the area for over a decade.
The State Government will now work with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, residents, businesses, local council and members to determine the best solution.
A transport study initiated by the MRA identified 11 options for redeveloping the intersection but it was not yet known whether the rail or road would go underground or if a bridge would be built.
In 2002 a proposal to close the intersection altogether and build an underpass further south linking Davis Road to Third Avenue was recommended as the best solution at the time.
Member for Armadale Tony Buti said the State Government’s commitment was a breakthrough after years of being ignored.
“We’ve had eight and a half years of a government that wouldn’t come out and talk to local members about this issue,” he said.
“It’s hard to really emphasise what a barrier this is to people trying to go across the railway line in either direction.
“People use alternative routes or bypass Kelmscott completely.”
Dr Buti said it was the biggest announcement in the local area in years.
Denny Avenue was rated the most dangerous road in the state in RAC’s Risky Roads 2016-17 survey after 168 crashes were recorded in the five years to 2015.
It was allegedly called a shemozzle in 2015 by then-prime minister Tony Abbott during his visit for the Canning by-election.
Traffic lights were installed in late 2015 for $800,000 in an attempt to improve traffic flow but the intersection remained a trouble spot.
Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said whichever redevelopment option was chosen the benefits for residents and business owners would be huge.
“It’s been something that I think overwhelmingly has the support of everyone here in Kelmscott,” she said.
“We’ll work with the local council and local members and have a consultation period.
“There was some preliminary work done by the previous governments and we need to sit down and get serious about doing the planning and consulting with the community.”
Federal Member for Burt Matt Keogh, WA Senator Linda Reynolds and Armadale mayor Henry Zelones welcomed the news.
Funding to the tune of $237 million was also provided for the Armadale Road-North Lake Road Bridge project while $145 million was set aside for a widening of Armadale Road between Armadale and Cockburn.
Shadow minister for transport Liza Harvey and former transport minister Bill Marmion were contacted for comment but did not respond before deadline.