The need to improve transport connections between Fremantle and Murdoch has been identified as a project of national significance in Infrastructure Australia’s latest priority list.
The Fremantle to Murdoch transport capacity project has been included as a ‘Priority Initiative’ in the Infrastructure Australia 2021 priority list released today.
A rapid transit network connecting Fremantle with neighbouring urban centres was included as a key element in the City of Fremantle’s Freo 2029: Transformational Moves strategy, and the City has been advocating for a light rail or trackless tram connection between Fremantle and Murdoch as part of its membership of the South West Group of Councils.
Fremantle Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan said the inclusion of the Fremantle to Murdoch transport link on the priority list would greatly enhance the project’s prospects of securing state and federal government funding.
“While Fremantle is fortunate to be serviced by the Fremantle rail line and a number of bus routes, there are also some obvious gaps in the public transport network connecting Fremantle to the rest of the metro area,” Cr Sullivan said.
“For example, the Mandurah rail line servicing Perth’s southern suburbs bypasses Fremantle, and there is limited connection with the growing Cockburn Coast.
“We’ve been advocating for a rapid transit corridor to be established along South Street to connect Fremantle with the Murdoch activity centre, which includes Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch University and Murdoch station on the Mandurah line.
“By investing in light rail or similar technology such as trackless trams it would help to unlock the underutilised land between Fremantle and Murdoch, creating opportunities for people to live closer to where they work, study and play.
“Now that Infrastructure Australia has recognised this transport link as a nationally significant project, we look forward to working with the state and federal governments to progress the planning for this vital piece of infrastructure.”
The South West Group of Councils – which includes Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham – has undertaken a number of high-level rapid transit studies, including on the potential of ‘up lifting’ of development nodes aligned with rail stops along the South Street corridor.
The group recently undertook a detailed transport engineering analysis that looked at a variety of route options.
Priority Initiatives are proposals that have been assessed and endorsed by the Infrastructure Australia Board that address a nationally significant problem, but need further development into a full business case.
The IA report says the South Street corridor is congested and has relatively uncompetitive public transport options.
In 2017, network analysis from the WA government indicated that South Street had the second-highest congestion costs per road-kilometre in Perth, and that these problems are expected to worsen over time with development in southern Perth.
The Murdoch Activity Centre is projected to grow to be the largest employment centre outside of the Perth CBD with 35,000 workers, 44,000 students and 22,000 residents.
The IA report says potential options to address the issue include enhancing the existing road network, improving bus services or providing higher-capacity public transport options.