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A controversial project to remove level crossings along the Armadale line and build Perth’s first sky rail is progressing despite continued community opposition.
Victoria Park MLA and WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced two consortiums had moved to the competitive bid phase to replace crossings at Oats Street, Mint Street and Welshpool Road.
The Armadale Line Upgrade Alliance (Acciona/Coleman Rail, BMD Constructions, WSP Australia, and AECOM Australia) and Elevate Alliance (Downer EDI Works, CPB Contractors, GHD, Aurecon Australasia, and CareyMC) now must demonstrate how they will remove the level crossings and replace them with elevated rail.
The consortiums will also need to cost the options to remove the level crossings at Hamilton, Wharf and William streets.
Community Forum Victoria Park president Paul Anesbury said the State Government was determined to saddle residents with a “concrete monolith”.
“It will be a blight on the landscape for the next 100 plus years,” he said.
“It is a short-sighted project and a massive lost opportunity to genuinely improve both the amenity of the local residents and provide real development opportunities along the railway corridor.”
Mr Anesbury said Mr Wyatt had consistently ignored community concerns about the project.
“There has been no genuine community consultation by either Metronet or the State Government,” he said.
“Whilst we support the removal of level crossings, there has been no proper long term cost/benefit evaluation of better solutions, such as a ‘cut and cover’.
“With the Government announcing a $1.2b budget surplus, the community is disappointed that more effective and desired solutions to level-crossing removals are being deemed as too expensive.”
However, the State Government said underground rail had been deemed an unfeasible option for this section of the Metronet project.
“Extensive early planning, limited available land and the success of similar projects in the Eastern States has informed the preferred solution to elevate the rail for these crossings,” a spokesperson said.
“Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has also stated that the cost of sinking the rail for 50 per cent of the Armadale line level crossings removal project would cost three times the amount that it would cost to elevate the line.
“A community reference group is currently being consulted on various aspects of the final design, including the designs for the station and the use of the public open space below the rail.”
The Town of Victoria Park is pushing for the rail line to be moved underground so the land above can be turned into green spaces, housing and development.
Mayor Karen Vernon said they would increase advocacy efforts with the WA Government for the Armadale rail line to be underground throughout the Town.
The contract is expected to be awarded later this year.
This article first appeared on www.perthnow.com.au
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