Midland Highway upgrade prompts Perth access concerns

ACCESS CONCERNS: The Perth side of Illawarra Road will be turned into a cul-de-sac under current plans for the Perth Link Road upgrade. Pictures: Midland Highway website
ACCESS CONCERNS: The Perth side of Illawarra Road will be turned into a cul-de-sac under current plans for the Perth Link Road upgrade. Pictures: Midland Highway website

Northern Midlands Council is asking the state government to reconsider its plans for the Perth Link Road upgrade in light of concerns that access between Perth and Longford could be reduced. 

The move comes after a community consultation session at Perth, where a number of residents voiced concerns about losing the Illawarra Road thoroughfare which connects the two towns.

Under current plans, the Perth side of Illawarra Road will become a cul-de-sac to make way for the new highway.

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said the council had written to Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding to request that the Illawarra Road passageway be maintained. 

“We're asking the minister to have a look at having access to a north-western corner of Perth... to see whether they could provide access underneath the new road to the existing Illawarra Road,” Cr Downie said.

“(The main concerns were) that there are social connections between Longford and Perth and that people wish to make sure that the physical access is as good as it is now so those social links can prevail. 

“There's also a commercial advantage, if Longford residents have access into Perth then they might also be able to access the commercial district in Perth.” 

RELATED: Perth upgrade brought forward 

A Department of State Growth spokesman said while upgrade plans did not allow Illawarra Road traffic to access Perth, high standard accesses would be provided through an off-ramp at Gibbet Hill and a roundabout near the South Esk bridge.

“Under the proposed design Illawarra Road will connect to the Midland Highway through a grade separated interchange specifically designed to maintain vehicle operating speeds and maximise efficiency of movement,” the spokesman said. 

“By maintaining vehicle speeds through this interchange, the potential for noise associated with vehicle acceleration and deceleration - particularly engine brakes - is significantly reduced.

“The design also includes a cycle pathway, separate from the road, to provide a connection between Perth and Longford.”

Designs for the Perth Link Road upgrade will be on display in the Northern Midlands Council offices until April 3.