Leach Highway

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Leach Highway

Leach Highway, Myaree, Western Australia, April 2006.JPG
Leach Highway in Melville
General information
TypeHighway
Length23 km (14 mi)
Route number(s)
Major junctions
East endAirport Drive, Perth Airport
 
West end High Street (State Route 7), Palmyra
Location(s)
Major suburbsWelshpool, Wilson, Rossmoyne, Winthrop, Melville
Highway system

Leach Highway is a 23-kilometre (14 mi) east-west arterial highway in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, primarily linking Kewdale and Perth Airport with the city of Fremantle.

It is allocated State Route 7 and is a dual carriageway for its entire length. Leach Highway varies in width between 4 and 6 lanes, and in speed limit between 70 and 80 km/h (43 and 50 mph).

Route description[edit]

Leach Highway is one of the state's most important heavy vehicle routes, it links the major industrial areas of Kewdale and Welshpool with Western Australia's major container port at Fremantle.[1]

Although Leach Highway's western terminus is at Carrington Street in Palmyra, High Street continues for a further 1.5 km (0.9 mi) into Fremantle, and connects Leach Highway to Stirling Highway.

History[edit]

Leach Highway is named for J.D. "Digby" Leach, former Commissioner of Main Roads Western Australia. In 1972 the first section was opened between its present western terminus at Carrington Street, Melville (now Palmyra), and High Road in Canning (now Willetton).

It was soon extended eastward from High Road through to Manning Road, utilising the old timber Riverton Bridge over the Canning River via Barbican St East and what is now Fern Rd and Grayson Ct.[2] In 1976 it was further extended from Manning Road to Orrong Road, including bridges over Albany Highway in Bentley and the Armadale railway line in Welshpool. Then in 1978 the 4-lane concrete Shelley Bridge over Canning River opened, with Riverton Bridge retained for local traffic.[2]

In the early 1980s the highway was extended further eastward, first to Hardey Road and, soon thereafter, to the new Beechboro-Gosnells Highway (now called Tonkin Highway) which remains as the highway's present eastern terminus.

Also around that time a number of intersections were built to coincide with new roads being built around Leach Highway. A parclo interchange was constructed at the newly extended Kwinana Freeway, and an intersection was constructed for the new Centenary Avenue in Wilson to improve access to the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT), now called Curtin University. New at-grade intersections were built at Murdoch Drive and Winthrop Drive to service the new suburbs of Bateman and Winthrop.

Although not strictly Leach Highway, in 1985 Stirling Highway was extended southwards from its then terminus at Canning Highway to a new terminus at High Street (an extension of Leach Highway); this marked the final piece of an improved freight link between the Port of Fremantle and Perth's major industrial areas around Kewdale.

Apart from minor modifications, the Leach Highway remained largely unchanged until 2005/2006 when work on projects at Kwinana Freeway and Orrong Road commenced.

Orrong Road interchange[edit]

In November 2005, the state government announced plans for the construction of a $21 million diamond interchange at the intersection of Leach Highway and Orrong Road in Welshpool. Orrong Road, which is a continuation of Graham Farmer Freeway has experienced increased in traffic by approximately 40% since the freeway was completed in 2000; the new bridge brought Leach Highway over Orrong Road, allowing, at the time, free-flowing traffic from Manning Road to Abernethy Road. The intersection was formerly Perth's worst blackspot. Approximately 70,000 vehicles, including substantial numbers of trucks, use the intersection daily. Funding for the project was made available through the sale of land reserved for the Fremantle Eastern Bypass; the interchange was completed in July 2007.[3]

Bull Creek railway station[edit]

Bull Creek railway station was built at the interchange of Leach Highway and Kwinana Freeway for the new Perth-Mandurah railway. A new bridge was built immediately south of the present highway bridge to cater for bus access to the railway station. Alterations to the Kwinana Freeway on and off ramps to Leach Highway have also been undertaken, entailing modifications to the layout of the parclo interchange.

Gateway WA[edit]

As part of the Gateway WA project, which commenced in 2013 and was completed in March 2016, Leach Highway was upgraded[4] to a controlled access four lane expressway from Orrong Road into Perth Airport Terminals 1 and 2, through Airport Drive; this involved Perth's first full freeway to freeway interchange with Tonkin Highway and a compact diamond interchange with Abernethy Road. Airport Drive will also provide a major link to the planned consolidated Perth Airport complex;[4] the ultimate design plan makes provision for this road to be upgraded to four lanes before 2031.

Future upgrades[edit]

High Street upgrade[edit]

The section of High Street between Carrington Street and Stirling Highway is due for upgrade.[5] Upon completion, this section is to be known as Leach Highway,[5] extending Leach Highway to Stirling Highway; the T junction at Stirling Highway is part of the main freight access for vehicles accessing the Port of Fremantle, and is a very busy intersection for trucks.

Welshpool Road interchange[edit]

In November 2018, Federal Opposition transport and infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese pledged to upgrade the Leach Highway and Welshpool Road to a grade-separated interchange if Labor won the upcoming Federal election;[6] the intersection is considered to be one of Perth's most congested with a high number of crashes occurring. The upgrade is estimated to cost $93 million, with the Labor Party committing $46.5 million.[7] A potential start date of June 2019 is targeted by Mr Albanese.

Major interchanges and exits[edit]

As Leach Highway is not limited access, a large number of the roads that Leach Highway are connected to are not controlled. Major intersections are at-grade and controlled. Exceptions are the Albany Highway, Orrong Road and Abernethy Road, which are grade separated in favour of Leach Highway; the first two are diamond interchanges, while the latter is a SPUI interchange. Although also grade-separated, the Centenary Avenue interchange is controlled by traffic lights on the westbound side of the highway.

The highway continues at its eastbound terminus as Airport Drive.

Signed as State Route 7:

Signed as State Route 7 / National Route 1:

Signed as State Route 7:

Leach Highway then continues at its westbound terminus as High Street (State Route 7)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "High Street Upgrading Study" (PDF). Estill and Associates. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Lester Durbin (October 2004), "History of Riverton Bridge" (PDF), Wilson Residents & Ratepayers' Association Newsletter, Wilson Residents & Ratepayers' Association, p. 3, retrieved 13 September 2014
  3. ^ Wyatt, Ben. "Ben Wyatt's Newsletter 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Gateway WA - Project Master Plan" (PDF). Gateway Vision. April 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Fact Sheet: Leach Highway Fremantle Upgrade Project" (PDF). Main Road. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  6. ^ Corlett, Aaron (23 February 2018). "Anthony Albanese pledges $46.5m for Leach Highway-Welshpool Road overpass if Labor elected". Canning Times. Community News. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Leach Highway (Welshpool Road) Interchange" (PDF). Australian Government. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
Bibliography

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata