THE $1 billion Gateway WA project moved ahead last week, with work now underway on the new on-ramp that will provide trucks travelling from the Kewdale/Forrestfield industrial estate along Abernethy Road with access to the Tonkin Highway for the first time.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese joined Western Australian Transport Minister Troy Buswell last Friday to turn the sod on the Abernethy Road-Tonkin Highway on-ramp project.
"Assessed by Infrastructure Australia and placed on its 2010 National Priority List, the upgrade of the road network around the airport and nearby industrial estates was one of our key pledges at the last Federal election and it's great that the work is finally underway," Mr Albanese said.
"It's also a great example of how we're reinvesting a proportion of the wealth created by our natural resources back into building the infrastructure our communities need and rely upon. We want to make this State an even better place to invest in and raise a family."
Mr Buswell said the Gateway WA project is part of a massive infrastructure program, which will transform Perth into a more vibrant, connected city and creating a critical gateway for the effective movement of freight and people in WA.
He said the Abernethy Road project by itself will make a big difference but it is only the first step towards easing congestion around Perth Airport and the surrounding industrial areas.
"Worth more than $15 million, this project alone will cut 3.7 kilometres off the route, which help reduce travel times and freight costs," Mr Buswell said.
"The project will remove some of the conflict between freight and airport passenger traffic, for example at the intersection of Horrie Miller Drive, the Tonkin Highway and the Kewdale Road intersection.
"The Gateway WA project will improve access to Perth Airport and surrounding areas, catering for future growth in these facilities and actively supporting the Western Australian economy," the Minister said.
The Gateway WA: Perth Airport and Freight Access project is being jointly funded by the Federal ($686 million) and WA Governments, with the entire project expected to be completed in 2017. It is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by Main Roads WA.
The Gateway WA Consortium, comprising Leighton Contractors, Georgiou, GHD, AECOM and BG&E signed the Alliance Agreement in November 2012, following successful negotiations after being announced as preferred proponent in October 2012.