15/1/01 MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT
City motorists will have two new road options to travel into and out of the central business district with the completion of the new Mitchell Freeway on and off-ramps in Wellington Street.
Premier Richard Court and Transport Minister Murray Criddle inspected the roads today before they opened to traffic.
The on and off-ramps are part of the State Government’s Perth Access plan launched in 1996 and will help to reduce traffic congestion in the central business district and make the city more people-friendly.
The new on-ramp to Mitchell Freeway can be accessed from Wellington Street, between Havelock and Elder streets, and will open to traffic at approximately 4pm this afternoon, in time for peak hour.
The new off-ramp flows from the Mitchell Freeway James Street exit and will provide direct access to Wellington Street, Hay Street and St Georges Terrace. It will be opened overnight in time for tomorrow morning’s peak-hour.
The West Perth subway on Sutherland Street will remain unchanged and provide an alternative for motorists.
“These ramps provide a new, streamlined route for drivers into the northern end of the city centre, instead of them having to negotiate the West Perth subway which, as we all know, can become pretty crowded during the peak hours,” Mr Court said.
“The objective of the Perth Access plan is to make the inner Perth city a more people-friendly place by streamlining and calming traffic flows.
“We are transforming Perth to be a more desirable and safer place for people by widening footpaths, installing new median strips and street furniture, planting trees, carrying out landscaping and generally enhancing our already beautiful city.
“The success of the Graham Farmer Freeway is a terrific example. As a result of this road project, we have far less traffic working its way through central Perth streets and this has given us a unique opportunity to redefine the city for people.”
Transport Minister Murray Criddle said there were now fundamental changes to the way traffic moved around the city following a re-direction of traffic flows on many inner city streets.
“We now have more logical and streamlined traffic patterns and improvements will continue,” Mr Criddle said.
“We will also be modifying the original Perth Access Plan following the decision to site the Perth Convention Centre near the foreshore and the duplication of the Narrows Bridge, which means the Riverside Drive access ramps to and from the Mitchell Freeway will stay as they are.
“Access to Riverside Drive from the Mitchell Freeway will be an essential part of transport planning for the Perth Convention Centre.”
Mr Criddle said the Wellington Street ramps would handle the bulk of traffic from the Mitchell Freeway with fewer and fewer vehicles needing to enter and leave the city from the foreshore area.
Previously, traffic was forced to exit the Mitchell Freeway at either James Street or Riverside Drive and then work its way through the network to access the west end of the city or West Perth.
This resulted in high volumes of traffic along Riverside Drive and also led to congestion in Northbridge and around the West Perth subway.
Mr Criddle said the cornerstone of the Perth Access project was the decision to build the Graham Farmer Freeway, the Narrows Bridge duplication, Causeway improvements, the Lord Street overpass, dual use paths into and across the city, dedicated bus lanes on the Kwinana Freeway and beautified streets.
“Perth Access will reshape our city centre to make it more people friendly and reduce city traffic levels so that there is less congestion, less noise and less air pollution,” he said.
Justine Whittome, Premier’s office, 9222 9475
Doug Cunningham, Minister Criddle’s office, 9321 7333