By Melissa Sheil
UPDATED plans for a controversial Wattle Grove/Forrestfield interchange were released last week, but much of the community still think the State Government has missed the mark.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the new design of the Tonkin Highway-Hale Road interchange was created in direct response to community feedback involving the need for direct connection between the roads and north-facing ramps, but excludes the desired southbound ramps.
Forrestfield resident of 40 years Garry Newing said though the updated plan was an improvement, southbound access was a necessity and a safety issue.
“The southbound issue has been there from day one,” he said.
“The design has now been improved going north towards Roe Highway from Hale Road, but the issue is now with no south exit from Hale, it’s now going to cause a huge volume of traffic through Wattle Grove as the Lewis Road exit is not a safe option.
“Lewis and Welshpool Road intersection is a notorious accident spot and traffic accidents are common.
“People will avoid this intersection if southbound is closed and will try to exit via Hale Road Wattle Grove, which has just been narrowed.”
Mr Newing’s comments regarding the safety of the design came only hours before a fatal crash occurred on a nearby stretch of Welshpool Road East in Lesmurdie, killing a 23-year-old woman on September 1.
Mr Newing is adamant the new design should factor in safety issues and the needs of all in the community.
“The community have been screaming out for the design to work for all residents but has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.
“I understand the need for the upgrade but believe if it cannot be designed properly, then it shouldn’t be altered.”
The new design involves a new road connecting Tonkin Highway northbound and Hale Road, a half-diamond interchange at Tonkin Highway and Hale Road with north-facing ramps, a diamond interchange at Tonkin Highway and Welshpool Road, and adjacent roads to connect the ramps between Hale Road and Roe Highway.
Despite advocacy from the City of Kalamunda, Main Roads WA ruled out the option of southbound exits, stating they are “not a viable option” due to low traffic flow.
A Wattle Grove resident, who wishes to remain anonymous disagreed, saying many took the route daily and its removal would be disastrous for locals.
“Main Roads wants free flowing traffic, but it’s not doing anything positive for our community,” she said.
“They are worried about the overall picture rather than the detailed consequences this will have for local residents.”
The plan can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeD7RTqeRM0