||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2010)|
|Leach Highway in Melville|
|Length||23 km (14 mi)|
|East end||Tonkin Highway (State Route 4), Kewdale|
|West end||High Street (State Route 7), Palmyra|
|Highways in Australia
National Highway • Freeways in Australia
Highways in Western Australia
It is allocated State Route 7 and is a dual carriageway for its entire length, its width varying between 4 and 6 lanes and its speed limit varying between 70 and 80 km/h.
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, using the old timber Riverton Bridge over Canning River. In 1976 it was further extended from Manning Road to Orrong Road, including bridges over the Armadale line and Albany Highway. Then in 1978 the 4-lane concrete Shelley Bridge over Canning River opened, with Riverton Bridge retained for local traffic.
In the early 1980s the highway was extended further eastward, first to Hardey Road and, soon thereafter, to the new Beechboro-Gosnells 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 West Australian Institute of Technology. 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.
Then, apart from minor modifications, the highway remained largely unchanged until 2005/2006 when work on projects at Kwinana Freeway and Orrong Road commenced.
High Street, Fremantle
Although Leach Highway's western terminus as a 6-lane divided carriageway is at Carrington Street in Palmyra, the road continues as High Street for a further 1.5 km. Here, it is a 4-lane undivided carriageway (speed limit 60 km/h) until the intersection at Stirling Highway, whereafter it is a much smaller local road. 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.
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Leach Highway is one of the state's most important heavy vehicle routes, linking the major industrial areas of Kewdale/Welshpool with Western Australia's major container port at Fremantle. The highway was constructed in the 1970s to provide, in conjunction with Roe Highway, good heavy vehicle access along this route.
However, due to planning limitations arising from existing development, much of the route was not constructed as limited access, meaning driveways and a large number of side streets intersect Leach Highway. Along its length there are 22 sets of traffic signals and some[who?] argue that there should be more. Such a design is undesirable for a predominantly 6-lane highway with large numbers of heavy vehicles.
With cancellation of Roe Highway stage 8, Leach Highway seems likely to remain this way for the foreseeable future. However things may improve depending on the success of the state government's 6-point plan for moving freight into and out of the Port of Fremantle.
Orrong Road interchange
In November 2005, the state government announced plans for the construction of a 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 will bring Leach Highway over Orrong 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 has since been completed and traffic flow has improved vastly.
Bull Creek railway station
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.
As part of the Gateway WA project, which commenced in 2013 to be completed by 2017, Leach Highway will be upgraded to a controlled access four lane expressway from Orrong Road into the future consolidated Perth Airport complex. This will involve a full freeway to freeway interchange with Tonkin Highway and a compact diamond interchange with Abernethy Road. The ultimate design plan makes provision for this road to be upgraded to four lanes before 2031.
Major interchanges and exits
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. The Albany Highway and Orrong Road interchanges are grade separated, in favour of Leach Highway. Signed as State Route 7:
- Tonkin Highway (State Route 4), Kewdale and Cloverdale
- Abernethy Road (State Route 55), Kewdale and Cloverdale
- Orrong Road (State Route 8), Kewdale, Carlisle, and Welshpool
- Welshpool Road, Welshpool
- Albany Highway (State Route 30), Bentley
- Manning Road (State Route 26), Bentley
- Bungaree Road, Wilson
- Centenary Avenue, Wilson
- Vahland Avenue/Barbican Street East, Shelley
- High Road (State Route 27), Shelley, Riverton and Willetton
- Karel Avenue, Rossmoyne and Willetton
- Webb Street, Rossmoyne
- Bull Creek Drive, Bull Creek
- Kwinana Freeway (State Route 2 / National Route 1 north), Brentwood and Bull Creek
Signed as State Route 7 / National Route 1:
- Moolyeen Road, Brentwood
- Murdoch Drive, Bateman and Winthrop
- Riseley Street, Boorogoon
- North Lake Road, Myaree, Willagee and Winthrop
- Stock Road (National Route 1), Melville, Palmyra, and Willagee
Signed as State Route 7:
Leach Highway then continues as High Street (State Route 7)
- Highways in Australia
- Highways in Western Australia
- Freeways in Australia
- Freeways in Western Australia
- Edmonds, Leigh (1997). The vital link: a history of Main Roads Western Australia 1926-1996. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 1-875560-87-4.
- StreetSmart Perth 2003 Street Directory. Midland, Western Australia: Department of Land Administration and West Australian Newspapers Ltd. 2002. ISBN 0-909699-87-9.
- Main Roads WA, Gateway WA Project Master Plan, Page 7