The State Government’s Murdoch Drive Connection project is under construction. This connection comprises the extension of Murdoch Drive south from Farrington Road to provide connections to the Roe Highway and Kwinana Freeway.
This project has been planned for more than 10 years and is intended to reduce congestion, provide better access to Fiona Stanley Hospital and help the Murdoch Activity Centre (MAC) meet its economic potential as a major employment and research centre.
On 10 May, 2017, the State Government announced that instead of progressing with the Perth Freight Link, the funds would be re-allocated to three new projects, including the construction of Murdoch Drive Connection to begin almost immediately.
The initial concept plan, released by Main Roads WA in May 2017, showed the new link road as an ‘at grade’ intersection with Farrington Road. This design would have caused ‘gridlock’ along Farrington Road, especially between Bibra and Murdoch Drive, making local traffic movement very difficult. Following lobbying from the City the Government agreed to additional funding and modified the design to include a bridge over Farrington Road.
This became the first of many actions the City subsequently undertook to manage the impact of this project and produce a workable design.
Additionally, the City has allocated $2m to upgrade the Farrington Road to Berrigan Drive/Karel Avenue intersection. The City is also seeking financial support from Jandakot Airport Holdings to undertake upgrades to the Berrigan Drive section into Jandakot Airport. These road improvements will reduce congestion and significantly improve local access onto the Roe Highway.
This is a State Government project so the majority of consultation has been led by Main Roads WA.
In August 2017, Main Roads WA released a concept layout in response to community concerns about the impact of increased traffic on Farrington Road and Bibra Drive.
Main Roads WA held a community Information session on Saturday 19 August at Lakeside Recreation Centre, North Lake, with the event publicised via mailout, Facebook and newspaper ad to residents in North Lake, Bibra Lake and Murdoch Chase. About 300 to 350 residents attended.
Community feedback from the session expressed strong opposition to a proposed cul-de-sac on Bibra Drive (to restrict the northbound movement to Farrington Road) and reservations about direct access from the Murdoch Drive Connection to Bibra Drive.
In September 2017, the concept was refined further to remove the cul-de-sac and Murdoch Drive would pass over Farrington Road, with connectivity to the Murdoch Activity Centre from the east and west maintained via a northbound spur from the existing Allendale Entrance roundabout, which intersected another new roundabout on Murdoch Drive.
In September 2017, Main Roads formed a Community Reference Group (CRG) to provide input into the project. However, following ongoing concerns about the impact of the project on the local roads for several months, Main Roads WA halted its public consultation and instead negotiated with the City of Melville and the City of Cockburn about the possible options and routes.
Concerned about the impact on local roads and local residents, the City of Cockburn engaged a traffic engineering firm (Cardno) to model traffic movement across the surrounding road network. See the report in related documents below. The modelling validated concerns raised by the City of Cockburn, the CRG and the Bibra Lake Residents’ Association. As a result, the City proposed a new concept (known as Option Four), which modified the design and removed access off the Murdoch Drive Connection onto Bibra Drive. This option would still allow the new link road to achieve its strategic objective, but without causing overcapacity on the surrounding road network. The reports on the assessments of Option Two and Option Four, undertaken by traffic engineering firm Cardno can be seen in the related documents below. The City also commissioned Cardno to undertake a traffic volume scenarios report in November 2017. This report can be viewed in the related documents below.
On Tuesday 21 November, the Bibra Lake Residents Association (BLRA) hosted a special meeting at Cockburn ARC to assess public support for the City’s proposed Option Four, publicising the event via its Facebook page. The outcome was that the BLRA started a petition calling on the State Government to support the City’s preferred option. The BLRA ran a publicity campaign on Facebook and did a local mail out to seek support for this petition.