Richard Court

Richard Court


    Graham Farmer Freeway to open on April 23

    12/02/2000 9:10 AM

      The biggest single road project ever tackled in Western Australia - the $374 million Graham Farmer Freeway - will open to traffic on the evening of Sunday, April 23.

      Viewing the massive road building project from the new bridge at Burswood this morning, Premier Richard Court said the Graham Farmer Freeway was on-budget, two months ahead of schedule and importantly, toll-free.

      “Unlike other states which have funded major road projects by imposing tolls on drivers, the Graham Farmer Freeway is toll-free,” Mr Court said.

      “We have managed this significant road building project in a very responsible manner. Once traffic starts to flow, so too will the benefits.”

      The Premier said events were being planned to allow as many people as possible to view the tunnel and bridge first-hand before it opened.

      Already more than 5,000 people had been on guided bus tours.

      “On Saturday, March 4, dog owners will be able to take their dogs on a morning walk with a difference - through the Northbridge tunnel!” Mr Court said.

      “On the Sunday and Monday of that long weekend, the tunnel and bridge will be open for viewing and then, on Easter Saturday, April 22, a Community Open Day is planned.

      “Around 30,000 people are expected to walk the 1.6km Northbridge Tunnel, and cross the new bridge over the Swan River on this day to celebrate the project completion.

      “And we haven’t forgotten about our bike riders - on the morning of Sunday, April 23, they will be able to cycle the tunnel and bridge as well.”

      Mr Court said three Rotary districts were involved in the Community Open Day on April 22, providing people for crowd control and supplying drinks, food and entertainment.

      Similar days, he said, were organised for events such as the walkthrough of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

      The Premier said the open days would offer an unrestricted and close-up view of the tunnel, its safety and impressive operational features.

      “The Graham Farmer Freeway is a terrific example of professional engineering design and construction, and is something which I urge people to come and have a look at,” he said.

      “Safety has been a primary factor in designing this tunnel.

      “It incorporates the latest features and operational procedures from around the world, including a central pedestrian escape corridor separating the two traffic carriageways, a comprehensive fire-fighting system, and a ventilation system which meets the highest standards of air quality.”

      Mr Court said the completion of the Graham Farmer Freeway would provide a much-needed bypass for city commuters, reduce traffic congestion and make Perth a better place to live, work and visit.

      Traffic on Riverside Drive is expected to reduce to around 50,000 vehicles a day, compared with the current 68,000; vehicle numbers on the Causeway should reduce by one third allowing for the introduction of bus lanes; and traffic on Wellington Street, St George’s Terrace and Adelaide Terrace should lessen.

      “The project is part of this Government’s commitment to improving our road systems and improving our way of life,” the Premier said.

      “This year alone, we are spending nearly $750 million on major road projects around the State.”

      Mr Court said that from next month, Main Roads WA would mount an education campaign to help motorists understand the rules that apply driving through a tunnel.

      Media contact: Justine Whittome 9222 9475