Construction starts on Perth's first smart freeway

Work is now underway to build Western Australia’s first Smart Freeway and deliver faster and more reliable commuting times between Perth CBD and the southern suburbs.

Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the upgrade on the Kwinana Freeway would create an additional traffic lane and use technology such as variable speed limits, coordinated ramp signals, CCTV and lane-use management to optimise traffic flow.

“The project covers 13km of the Kwinana Freeway northbound between Farrington Road and the Narrows Bridge, which includes the additional traffic lane from Canning Highway to the Narrows Bridge to boost jobs and bust congestion,” Mr Tudge said.

“A lane-use management system, similar to that used for the Northbridge Tunnel, creates an additional lane between Canning Highway and Narrows Bridge by safely opening the emergency stopping lane on the freeway to all traffic.

“There will be increased signage to display open and closed traffic lanes, as well as the provision of new emergency stopping bays in case of crashes and breakdowns.”

The upgrade was one of 17 major road projects being undertaken as part of the Australian and Western Australian governments’ $2.3 billion infrastructure package, which is boosting jobs and busting congestion.

Western Australian Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said the project was the latest in a series of upgrades to both the Kwinana Freeway and the Mitchell Freeway.

“Through technology, we can ensure we get the most out of Perth’s existing infrastructure and road space to save time for commuters.

“This technology can apply variable speed limits, inform of traffic conditions ahead and adjust on-ramp flow so we can have far greater control over the productivity of the freeway.

“Seven major road projects are in the works in Perth’s southern suburbs - together these will add more than 22km of new freeway capacity between Russell Road and the Narrows Bridge, as well as adding capacity to arterial roads.”

Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons said the technology would ensure commuters get the most out of Perth’s existing infrastructure, leading to travel time-savings.

“The Smart Freeway technology has proven effective in other states and overseas, and will make a big difference to the daily lives of commuters in the southern suburbs,” Mr Irons said.

“This is a smart way of adding capacity to our freeway.”

The project is being jointly funded by the Australian ($37.6 million) and Western Australian ($9.4 million) governments. The new Smart Freeway is earmarked for operation by early 2020.