EPA recommends conditional approval for Roe Highway extension

Release date: 
13 September 2013

The Roe Highway extension has been recommended for conditional approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) proposes to extend Roe Highway by about 5km from its current terminus at the Kwinana Freeway in Jandakot to Stock Road in Coolbelup. The proposal, located largely within a road reserve about 14km south of Perth, was set aside in the Metropolitan Regional Scheme in 1963.

The highway forms a strategic link in Perth’s road network, running between the Great Northern Highway and the Kwinana Freeway, allowing north-south traffic to bypass the Perth CBD and inner suburbs. An independent report in 2009 concluded that without the extension “severe and restricted traffic flow” would be “widespread in Perth by 2031” and road safety and noise and pollution levels would worsen.

EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said innovative strategies by the proponent to avoid, minimise and mitigate environmental impacts had been fundamentally important in the assessment, which resulted in recommendations for strict conditions incorporating a package of offsets including restoration works, wetland acquisition and at least 234 hectares of Carnaby’s Cockatoo and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo foraging habitat.

“The EPA recognizes that this project has had a long history. The proposal attracted more than 3200 public submissions during the public review period and all the issues raised were considered by the EPA,” Dr Vogel said.

“It is also important to note that from the outset, the proponent has recognised the regionally significant environmental values of the area and has sought to apply innovative planning and design measures, and construction techniques to the proposal. This has set a new standard for major road projects in this type of sensitive environment.”

In 2003, the EPA provided advice to the then Minister for Environment on the key environmental values that would be affected if the Roe Highway extension was to proceed. The advice, which did not constitute a formal assessment, was provided to inform studies undertaken as part of the then government’s Freight Network Review. The EPA noted at the time that there was no specific design detail on the alignment for the Roe Highway extension, that its review was based on the assumption that the road would be constructed entirely in the road reserve and that more detailed information would be provided regarding any future proposal to construct the highway.

The issues raised in the report have been addressed by the proponent, Dr Vogel said.

“The proponent has met these concerns through the relocation of the original Bibra Drive interchange to Murdoch Drive and the construction of a 120m-long bridge over Roe Swamp – to reduce fragmentation impacts to wetlands, fauna and vegetation – and through offsets to mitigate impacts on environmental values,” Dr Vogel said.

Among the EPA’s recommended conditions are limits to ground water abstraction, a requirement to facilitate fauna movement within Beeliar Regional Park, and ‘top-down’ construction methods.

Recommended conditions also include the implementation of:

  • an Infrastructure Plan detailing the alignment, dimensions and locations of the key proposal elements prior to construction ensuring the final road alignment and detailed design does not result in any additional impacts;
  • a Wetlands Monitoring and Management Plan; and
  • a Flora and Vegetation Monitoring and Management Plan.

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing September 27, 2013. Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.

EPA Report 1489 is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au

Media Contacts: Nadia Miraudo, Fiona Adolph 0400 866 450