The Malcolm Turnbull led Federal government has extended more funding support to the Perth Freight Link project. It is certainly good news for Western Australia and Perth commuters in particular as it facilitates their safer and faster travel.
The central government on Tuesday accepted the long-standing request of Western Australian Government for additional funding to construct a second tunnel in the mega infrastructure project for connecting the industrial centres and the port.
The Federal government will spend an extra $260.8 million for the tunnel and its total commitment to the freight link will go up to $1.2 billion.
As a result, Perth Freight Link will have an upgraded high standard freight connection from Muchea through the Perth urban area to Fremantle Port.
The new tunnel will be under the suburbs of Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley. The WA government is hoping that it will improve productivity and safety than the mere surface upgrade of Stock Road and Leach Highway.
In the new design, a tunnel from the Winterfold Road intersection will join the junction of Stirling Highway and High Street in Fremantle, according to the PM’s website malcolmturnbull.com.
Western Australia is delighted and sees a slew of benefits such as 2,400 direct jobs and 10,000 jobs from the project. However, the Perth Freight Link project is yet to start construction.
Meanwhile, the business lobby’s enthusiasm over the project has not been endorsed by the common people. While the government is saying the tunnel would avoid the need to demolish homes to build the freight link, groups like “Rethink the Link” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would look silly by supporting the project.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry is bullish that approvals for the Perth Freight Link tunnel will be in place very soon, reports The ABC.
CCI WA chief executive Deidre Willmott said the Commonwealth funding was welcome and the new tunnel would give easy access to Fremantle Port and reduce congestion.
“It will create connections between the port and industrial centres,” she asserted.
However, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he is unsure whether the congestion problems would be solved as the tunnel’s exit is the most congested part of the entire freight route.
But Willmott said such concerns could be addressed later. “We just need a crossing across the river, whether it’s under or over, it just needs to have more capacity than it’s got at the moment,” she said.