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It is full steam ahead for a controversial project to remove level crossings along the Armadale line and build Perth’s first sky rail.
Requests for proposals are now being sought from contractors to remove level crossings at Oats Street, Mint Street and Welshpool Road along the Armadale train line to be replaced with elevated rail.
The successful contractor must also demonstrate how they will achieve good design outcomes for new public spaces under the elevated rail.
Up to 2.8 kilometres of elevated rail could be laid along the Armadale Line which the State Government says will provide more opportunities for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to safely cross the rail corridor while also creating safer roads, quieter neighbourhoods and new connections between communities.
However the project is not without its detractors including the local council and residents who will live in the shadow of the sky rail.
Locals were shocked when the State Government first announced its sky rail plans in June prompting them to call on Premier Mark McGowan to intervene and halt the Metronet project, citing a lack of community consultation and the need for underground options to be investigated.
Town of Victoria Park mayor Karen Vernon said the State Government has still not responded to the Town’s concerns about the project going ahead without proper community consultation.
“There now seems to be a determined effort to fast track the project under the auspices of COVID-19 and stimulating the economy but our concerns remain the same about there being no consultation with the community,” she said.
“The State Government has repeatedly said that underground rail options are cost prohibitive and they have no money no money for it.
Locals are concerned about the sky rail project. Credit: Wikipedia“This is despite the fact the WA Government is about to post a $1.7 billion surplus of which the WA Treasurer says is every cent is available for infrastructure works and now the Fed Government is throwing another $1.5b for infrastructure for the states.
“So let us have some of that money to explore underground rail options.
“This is a once in lifetime opportunity and we need to get it right.
“Busting congestion is one thing, but changing the dynamic of our community is the missing piece that never gets mentioned by government.”
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said they are prioritising projects in Perth that will bust congestion, drive the WA economy and deliver local jobs.
“These level crossings removals will do both,” he said.
WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the removal of level crossings along the line was a key election commitment.
“Metronet is the largest public transport investment in Perth’s history and the RFP process gives contractors the opportunity to be involved in delivering these exciting projects,” she said.
“This project will help support the Western Australian economy through COVID-19 while also ensuring we are building the infrastructure needed for tomorrow.”
State Member for Victoria Park Ben Wyatt said removing the level crossings would help reduce frustrations for commuters in the area who can be stuck waiting for up to three trains to pass at a time.
Currently Oats Street boom gates are closed 233 times a day for up to 1 minute 33 seconds per closure meaning it is down for up to six hours daily.
“It is also a unique and extraordinary opportunity for the local community to have their say about the surrounding area and what they would like to see,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.perthnow.com.au
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