The Mitchell and Kwinana freeways form the main north–south arterial road corridor through Perth, serving both commuter and freight trips. Congestion is already an issue along the corridor during peak hours, particularly at the Swan River crossing between Perth City and South Perth.
In the absence of additional capacity, the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit projected that the Mitchell Freeway would become the most congested corridor in Australia, with demand expected to exceed capacity well before 2031. While recent modelling scales back the projected rate of population growth in the region compared to the rate used in the Audit (reflecting the slower rate of growth in Western Australia following the mining boom) growth in the region will still increase congestion along the corridor.
Congestion is currently characterised by frequent stop–start conditions that are directly contributing to an increasing number of rear-end crashes and compromising road safety. The travel-time delays associated with these events will increasingly result in nationally significant losses to productivity. However, in the inter-peak period, there is surplus capacity across the network. This suggests some scope for demand management to spread peak period transport flows.
This initiative proposes implementing Intelligent Transport System technologies to actively manage traffic flow on the Kwinana Freeway. This would enhance road capacity and improve safety, maximising the existing productive capacity of the road network and delaying the need for further large-scale investments in the corridor.
A number of projects to increase capacity are also currently underway on sections of the Kwinana and Mitchell freeways, including northbound widening of the Kwinana Freeway between Russell Road and Roe Highway.
This initiative was originally included in the Infrastructure Priority List as the ‘Mitchell and Kwinana Freeways – widening and smart freeways technology’ initiative. It was updated in February 2019 to include other sections of the corridor.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).