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Wendy Claxon and Chris Cottier believe the State Government should have bitten the bullet and asphalted Northlink in its entirety.

Northlink noise never ends

THE problems with the State Government’s Northlink project are multiplying, with one significant problem leaving residents living north of Ellenbrook feeling like second class citizens.

As reported in Northlink leaves drivers spitting chips (Echo News, May 15), since the $1.02 billion highway opened on April 23, Main Roads WA (MRWA) have been inundated with damage claims from the chip-seal section of the highway past Ellenbrook.

MRWA have consistently maintained that chip-seal was able to be used on the northern section of the Tonkin Highway extension because it is classified as a rural road.

MRWA have now received 274 damage claims, with 78 claims approved so far, all of which will be paid out by lead contractor CBP Contractors.

However another issue has emerged that does not have such an easy solution.

Wendy Claxon used to wake up at daybreak to the calls of Kookaburras, but since April 23, she has woken to the rumble of road trains at around 3am, day in-day-out.

The Raphael Road resident lives just 170 metres from Northlink and described the noise as akin to the jet engines she occasionally hears from RAAF Base Pearce.

“We were shell-shocked when it started up, because it’s just so much noisier than the other section of Tonkin Highway because of the chip-seal,” she said.

“We can’t have our windows open anymore, we’ve been here for 33 years and every once in a while when the RAAF base has visiting jets, it’s not dissimilar to that.

“I’m posting on Facebook between 3am and 3.30am because I’m being woken up by the trucks, the Kookaburras would at least wait until dawn.

Chris Cottier lives on Stock Road West, about 300 metres from Northlink, and he said he feels like a second-class citizen and that the northern section should have been asphalted from the start.

“The noise hasn’t stopped since they opened it up and it gets me up at 3am, every day.” He said.

“It’s like a jet engine running 20 hours a day.

“They should have bitten the bullet and asphalted it the whole way.

“They’re classing it as a rural road – it’s a metropolitan road, it’s a major artery to Perth.

“Why do the people in Ellenbrook get the quiet road and the noise barriers, as soon as you get past Maralla Road it turns into chip-seal and they say there’s nothing they can do for us.

“When complaints are sent to the contractor CBP,  you get a response that it’s a Main Roads issue.

“Main Roads say it’s a ministerial issue as we have contacted various politicians and no one gets back to you.”

An MRAWA spokesperson said asphalting the northern section would be possible, at an extra cost of $70 million to the project, but the option was never even considered.

“The road surface on the other sections of Tonkin Highway is asphalt on a full-depth asphalt pavement as required on high volume urban freeways to cater for the traffic volumes,” the spokesperson said.

“On a heavy-duty freight route like NorthLink WA, the highway requires about 300mm of asphalt to carry the traffic loading.

“A chip seal surface will always be noisier than an asphalt type surface.”

MRWA also said price was a factor in their decision.

“A heavy duty freight route like Tonkin Highway requires around 300mm of asphalt to carry the traffic loading, similar to the Central and Southern sections.

“This would add a further $70m to the cost of the road.

“In addition to cost, use of asphalt over a chip seal has a much higher carbon footprint.”

That’s little comfort to residents living north of Maralla Road, who have formed a Facebook page, Residents Against NorthlinkWA Road Noise.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the road noise would lessen over time.

“Main Roads is also working with a number of residents on a case by case basis to address noise concerns,” she said.

“A number of these residents have previously received noise mitigation treatments based on the noise modelling undertaken prior to construction.

“Over time the noise will lessen as road surface begins to improve as the stones continue to embed with traffic using the road.”

Further noise modelling is expected to take place in October.

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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