There is an interesting opinion piece by Liberal party fan Paul Murray in the West Australian today about Fremantle Port and the Perth Freight Link.
Let me first state that I am sick and tired of politicising the debate about this issue and wished all politicians would stick with the facts because this is an extremely important and very expensive project for WA.
Murray writes that on August 13, 2014 nine senior Fremantle Port and Department of Transport officials plus consultants on transport economies and land use were involved in a workshop, and that the report they published in April 2015 states that the existing harbour will not reach capacity until 2055 and an overflow outer harbour would not be needed until 2038, so another 21 years from now.
The workshop concluded that Fremantle Port’s capacity was 2,1 million TEUs(container units) and not as had been assumed previously only around 1,3 million TEUs.
If Murray reports facts here, and why would he not, this puts a different light on the urgent need to build an outer harbour at Kwinana, but for me the Perth Freight Link still does not make sense, even if an outer harbour is not needed and built the next twenty years.
I disagree with Paul Murray that a major part of the PFL attraction is that is solves the problem of massive traffic congestion south of the river. It does not because the last link will not be built and there will not be a better connection into the port.
What will happen is that the proposed tunnel will spew out thousands of trucks and private cars near Stirling Highway that have nowhere to go but the two already congested bridges to North Fremantle. Traffic chaos in North Freo would be a result of bad government planning and not having been able to find a solution on how to connect Roe 8 and 9 to Fremantle Port.
The Perth Freight Link highway/tunnel is unresolved and until the port connection is solved it should not be built. There will not be better port efficiency because the new road will soon be congested and trucks to the port will end up in long queues at Stirling Highway and in North Fremantle. That in my opinion is bad planning that is politically driven without achieving the essential outcomes it should aim for.