Bridge Proposal Lacks Vision

Adele Carles, 2012

While State MP for Fremantle, I called for the $230 million funding for the new traffic bridge in 2012, after exposing the 2004 WA Main Roads engineers’ report finding the bridge unsafe.

The 4 traffic bridge options presented by the Government in August 2021 failed to incorporate the common sense best-case scenario for North Fremantle residents that will actually deal with the traffic congestion once and for all.  All 4 proposals ignored the needs of North Fremantle and lock in avoidable traffic chaos for future generations.

The best-case solution is to extend Curtin Ave next to the passenger rail line to Tydeman Road and then build the new bridge west of the rail line so as to keep this traffic out of the residential area of North Freo. The decision to move the Fremantle Port to Kwinana means that this option is viable and should have been put on the table. However, this solution was excluded from the options presented to residents.

The Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) provides a reservation along the western side of the passenger line to facilitate this, so with political will, this option is feasible.  Curtin Ave has been identified by Main Roads as “an important freight route from Fremantle Inner Harbour to the north via Port Beach Road.”  Indeed the the MRS reservation is in place to incorporate a possible future 4 lanes for Curtin Ave.  Clearly now is the time to get the long term traffic planning in place for Curtin Ave and the new bridge alignment. 

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deal with the North Freo traffic congestion problem – and for the popular community High Line option to be realised. 

Whilst I appreciate it would cause a delay to get this planning in place, surely the people of North Fremantle deserve the best long-term solution to the traffic chaos that has dogged them for decades.

There is a quadruple win possible by taking a wholistic approach to traffic planning right at the start:

(1)   It reduces the long-term traffic congestion through North Freo by keeping Curtin Ave traffic west of the rail line;

(2)   The new westerly bridge can be built while the existing heritage one stays operational and the commuter line remains untouched, thereby avoiding traffic chaos on the Stirling Highway bridge for the 2-3 year build stage; and

(3)   It retains the old decommissioned heritage bridge so that it can be repurposed into a ‘High Line’ for bikes and pedestrians which is what the local community want;   and

(4) The former industrial land at Port Beach can be redeveloped without a major road creating a barrier between it and the beach.  

Achieving the best outcome for North Fremantle residents simply requires a bit more effort by our State Government. Consultation should not start by offering 4 poor outcomes to choose between. Fremantle deserves better.

If there can be 4 options east of the existing rail bridge, imagine how many options could be considered west of that bridge. It just takes an open mind and a broader vision.

3 Sept 2021:

17 Aug 2021:

3 Aug 2021:

30 July 2021: