Shadow Minister for Transport Libby Mettam and Liberal Candidate for Swan Hills Rod Henderson met with residents of Bullsbrook and Ellenbrook on 10 June to listen to concerns regarding the noise being generated by the chip seal on the northern section of the new Tonkin Highway. An online petition to highlight these concerns with Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has been launched.
NorthLink WA is the biggest road infrastructure project in WA’s history and residents are bewildered that the $1.02 billion budget has not included sealing the Ellenbrook to Muchea section with the same smooth surface applied to the rest of the highway. The use of a chip-seal was not discussed with affected residents during community consultations with Main Roads WA.
The noise is more than a slight inconvenience – broken sleep, elevated stress levels, raised blood pressure and mental health effects have all been reported by those trying to adjust this new environmental input.
And it’s not just residents living close to the border of the new road that are reporting these disturbances. Those in the West Bullsbrook townsite, approximately 2 kilometres away from the road, were surprised to discover they could hear a near-constant din of traffic noise once the road opened in April.
Bullsbrook resident Simona Willis lives 500 metres from the highway and says, “What really gets me is it doesn’t have to be like this! Put a different seal on that road and it will drop the noise considerably.
“It feels like there’s been a shortcut at the end – they’ve run out of money and now we, the residents, have to wear it. And that’s not right.”
The official stance from NorthLink WA is, “The decision to use this surface is based on the type and volume of vehicles predicted through the area to provide a balance between functionality, rideability and budget.
“North of Ellenbrook is considered a regional road, where the usage type differs greatly from typical metropolitan roads.”
Shadow Transport Minister Libby Mettam said, “NorthLink WA is a fantastic Federally funded project, but we have been disappointed and concerned about how the McGowan Labor Government chose to finish the northern section between Ellenbrook and Muchea. The chip seal is causing excessive noise levels for local residents as well as damage to the vehicles that are using it.
“It is simply not good enough that at least 230 vehicles have claimed damage or potential damage, all because the government chose not to complete this road to a metropolitan standard.
“We are calling on the McGowan Labor Government to listen to the community’s concern and rectify these problems as a priority.”
Main Roads anticipates that noise levels will reduce over the next six months as the seal on the highway beds down, but residents are doubtful.
“It won’t settle,” said Simona.
To sign the petition head to https://www.petition.org.au/northlink/?fbclid=IwAR1ld8p7RKzoJgCUOYfeEPvvH_zLjMxzdzGZh9_WfDnO0c8sSS1UV7V1mKY and to keep up to date with the issue, join the Residents Against NorthlinkWA Road Noise Facebook group.