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TRAIN services on the Yanchep rail extension are expected to start in 2022, but the Environmental Protection Authority is calling for the $531.7 million project to include at least three green bridges for wildlife to cross the tracks.
The EPA announced its conditional approval of the second part of the project, from Eglinton to Yanchep on Monday, a day after ground was broken to mark the start of early clearing works.
Having received environmental approval for the 7.3km Butler to Eglinton section in May, the Public Transport Authority has also been seeking approval for the 7.2km section to Yanchep, which will cut through the Ningana Bushland.
EPA chairman Tom Hatton said after a thorough environmental impact assessment, which included a six-week public review period, the EPA had found the proposal could be environmentally acceptable if certain conditions were met.
A concept design for a green bridge over rail tracks.“As the proposed train line will divide parts of the WA bush on its planned route which has the potential to cause fragmentation for native wildlife and vegetation, we have recommended the PTA build at least three ‘green’ bridges over the rail line to maintain the ecological connection,” Dr Hatton said.
“The EPA has also recommended offsets to counterbalance the significant residual impacts to threatened and priority ecological communities, including black cockatoo habitat, and a Bush Forever site, and if these conditions are met then the proposal would be environmentally acceptable.”
The green bridges would be built from rail tunnels, with vegetation growing on the top so animals such as kangaroos, lizards, snakes and birds could cross the tracks safely.
According to PTA, the green bridge would be “one of the first known to be installed over a passenger railway in Australia” although Main Roads recently built a narrower fauna bridge on the NorthLink project.
The EPA report to the Environment Minister, who will make the final decision, is open for a two-week public appeal period until December 9 through http://www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.
This article first appeared on www.communitynews.com.au
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