Town truck bypass back on shire agenda
Composite map of a $9 million Toodyay heavy haulage bypass that was proposed by the State Government in January 2001 and abandoned after local owners objected. The route passes behind Toodyay’s new River Hills residential estate (top centre).
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
TOODYAY residents will be asked if they want the State Government to build a new heavy haulage bypass around the town.
The town is currently served by a temporary heavy haulage route through residential streets west of the railway line.
It starts near Newcastle Bridge at Harper Road and ends where Hamersley Road meets Stirling Terrace opposite the former St Aloysius Covent of Mercy and includes a busy rail crossing near the town’s visitor information bay.
The temporary route contains five right-angle bends that road trains, low loaders, and large farm equipment can’t negotiate without crossing into oncoming traffic.
Many heavy trucks don’t bother to use it and go straight down Stirling Terrace instead.Read more
Local traders in Toodyay’s main café strip are concerned that big trucks rolling past shops, hotels and cafes pose a danger to customers, including children and elderly people crossing the road from between parked cars.
Toodyay Bakery co-owner Cassie Marion said she also had a concern about heavy trucks carrying livestock passing so close to customers seated at outdoor tables.
Former WA Premier Richard Court’s government announced a $9 million plan for a Toodyay bypass in January 2001 which included a new bridge over the Avon River near the Northam-Toodyay Road.
His government was defeated by former State Labor leader Geoff Gallop a month later and the plan was abandoned after objections from local landowners, who are understood to have since left the shire.
The 2001 proposed route passes near homes in Toodyay’s new River Hills Estate.
The town’s temporary bypass made Herald Page 1 news in August 2016 when it was revealed that former Toodyay shire councillors voted 8-1 (former Cr Sally Craddock against) to cut down two tall trees on the corner of Anzac Memorial Park to make it safer for trucks to pass.
The plan was axed after a public outcry and a confrontation between police and protesters.
Toodyay Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said land was previously acquired for a bypass behind Toodyay District High School for a route between the Toodyay-Goomalling Road and Telegraph Road.
Revisiting the need for a new bypass had been raised in recent informal discussions.
“We are a heritage town and concerns have been raised about increased mining and agricultural traffic,” she said.
The need for a new bypass had been raised in ‘Let’s Talk’ community sessions hosted by shire councillors and staff at recent public meetings in Bejoording and Morangup.
Ms Haslehurst said councillors would be asked if they wanted the shire to conduct a public survey to gauge community support to lobby the State Government for a new bypass.