Tonkin Highway corridor capacity

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Perth road network capacity
Priority Initiative
Infrastructure Category
Proposed By
WA Government
Near term (0-5 years)
Perth, WA
Tonkin Highway corridor capacity


The Tonkin Highway is experiencing growing levels of congestion and road crashes due to increased traffic volumes. This is being driven by population and economic growth, related to urban and industrial developments along the corridor.

The Tonkin Highway is a 44 km north– south highway and partial freeway that provides passenger and freight access to key industrial and commercial areas, including Perth Airport, the Kewdale intermodal facility, and the Kewdale, Forrestfield and Welshpool strategic industrial areas.

From 2013 to 2016, 80% of total crashes on the Tonkin Highway were rear-end incidents. This is well above Perth’s metropolitan average of 45%.

In 2017–18, the Tonkin Highway (south of Great Eastern Highway) catered to over 98,000 vehicles per working weekday in both directions, 11% of which were heavy vehicles. This is up from around 71,000 vehicles in 2012–13.

Continued urban and industrial development is expected to increase congestion and limit the potential for the Tonkin Highway to support economic and population growth in Western Australia.

Proposed initiative

Potential initiatives to reduce congestion, improve road safety and reduce travel times include road widening, grade separations at major intersections, potentially extending the Tonkin Highway south to provide transport access to rapidly growing residential areas, and improved freight connections to Fremantle Port.

  • The Western Australian Government has identified three key sections of the highway for improvements:
  • the section of Tonkin Highway between Collier Road and Great Eastern Highway (known as the Tonkin Highway Gap)
  • interchanges south of Roe Highway (at Hale Road, Welshpool Road East, and Kelvin Road)
  • a future extension to the Byford area in the south.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).