|Map of Perth's eastern and south-eastern suburbs with Tonkin Highway highlighted in red|
|Length||45 km (28 mi)|
|Maintained by||Main Roads Western Australia|
|Route number(s)||State Route 4|
|North end||Reid Highway (State Route 3), Malaga|
|South end||Thomas Road (State Route 21), Oakford|
|Highways in Australia
National Highway • Freeways in Australia
Highways in Western Australia
Tonkin Highway is a 44-kilometre-long (27 mi) north-south highway in Perth, Western Australia, linking Perth Airport and Kewdale with the city's north-eastern and south-eastern suburbs. The northern terminus is at Reid Highway in Malaga, and the southern terminus is at Thomas Road in Oakford. It forms the entire length of State Route 4, and connects to several major roads, including Great Eastern Highway, Leach Highway, Roe Highway, and Albany Highway.
Planning for the route began in the 1950s, but the first segment between Wattle Grove and Cloverdale was not opened until 1980. Over the next five years, the highway was extended north to Great Eastern Highway and south to Albany Highway, and a discontinuous section was constructed north of the Swan River. In 1988 the Redcliffe Bridge linked these sections, and three years later, Reid Highway became the northern terminus. The next major works on the highway, between 2003 and 2005, extended the highway south to Thomas Road.
The Gateway WA project plans to improve the road network around Perth Airport, including upgrading the central section of Tonkin Highway to a six-lane freeway-standard road. Construction began in 2013, and completion is scheduled for 2017. Further extensions to both the northern and southern extents of the highway are planned, which would connect the highway to the proposed Perth Darwin National Highway near Ballajura, and to South Western Highway south of Byford.
- 1 Route description
- 2 History
- 3 Future works
- 4 Interchanges and intersections
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Tonkin Highway forms the entire length of State Route 4. It is maintained by Main Roads Western Australia, and subject to control of access[note 1] along its entire length. Some sections of the highway are freeway-standard, with grade-separated interchanges; however, most junctions on the highway are at-grade and traffic light controlled. The highway is a dual carriageway, primarily four lanes wide, though near some junctions the width briefly increases to six lanes. The speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) near intersections, and 90 or 100 km/h (55 or 60 mph) along the stretches in between. A shared pedestrian and bicycle path is built alongside part of Tonkin Highway, between Collier Road and Great Eastern Highway, as well as south of Mills Road East. In most other sections, the highway's sealed shoulders also function as bicycle lanes.
Main Roads Western Australia monitors traffic volume across the state's road network, including several locations along Tonkin Highway.:3 The section near Perth Airport, south of Great Eastern Highway, is the busiest, averaging over 56,000 vehicles per weekday in 2007–08, and over 57,000 in 2008–09. North of the Swan River, the traffic volume gradually decreased to under 40,000 vehicles per weekday near the northern terminus, in 2007–08. Measurements in 2008–09 showed the lowest volume to be under 10,000 vehicles per weekday near the southern terminus, north of Thomas Road.:73–74
As of 2013[update], intersections in and around Kewdale, Forrestfield and Perth Airport carry traffic volumes beyond their capacity during peak periods. Average peak period traffic speeds in this part of Tonkin Highway were measured as 20 km/h (12 mph) or less in 2013. The slowest section was from Leach Highway to Horrie Miller Drive, which recorded an average of 14 km/h (10 mph) during the afternoon peak period. Traffic volume, exceeding 50,000 vehicles per day in 2012, is forecast to almost double by 2031. Traffic modelling has shown that leaving the current network of traffic light controlled intersections in place would result in gridlock by 2021. An upgraded road network, after the Gateway WA project is completed, is expected to have an average speed in peak periods of between 55 and 75 km/h (35 and 45 mph) in 2021.
North of the Swan River
Tonkin Highway begins at a traffic light controlled T junction with Reid Highway, at the southern edge of , eastern edge of , and western edge of , within the City of Swan local government area (LGA). Tonkin Highway is the southern leg of the T junction, while Reid Highway forms both the northern and eastern legs. The highway heads south forming the border between the residential suburbs of Beechboro and Noranda. The Lightning Park sporting reserve is located immediately west of Tonkin Highway, and can be accessed from a northbound exit ramp 400 metres (0.25 mi) south of the T junction. After 150 metres (490 ft), the highway enters the City of Bayswater LGA. East of the highway, the LGA boundary is also the boundary between the suburbs of Beechboro and . The highway travels south for 400 metres (0.25 mi) to the traffic lights at Benara Road. The south-eastern corner of Noranda is 400 metres (0.25 mi) south of the intersection, leaving the highway entirely within Morley. Tonkin Highway continues south through the residential area for 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi), and reaches another set of traffic lights, with Morley Drive and Morley Drive East.
Tonkin Highway continues southwards through a narrow S curve that realigns the highway further east. Partway through the curve, 800 metres (0.50 mi) south of Morley Drive, the highway passes under Broun Avenue, though there is no access between the roads. At this point the highway enters the north-eastern corner of , travels through it for 400 metres (0.25 mi), and then enters . The border between Embleton and Bayswater follows Beechboro Road, which is discontinuous either side of Tonkin Highway. The highway continues through Bayswater, between residential housing to the north-east and an industrial area to the south-west. After 500 metres (0.31 mi) the S curve ends, with the highway now travelling between industrial and commercial properties. There is another set of traffic lights 400 metres (1,300 ft) further south, with Collier Road. The next major road the highway meets is Guildford Road, 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi) further south. It is connected via a grade-separated interchange folded diamond interchange, with all the ramps located south of Guildford Road; to the north is the Midland railway line, and the parallel road Railway Parade, which the highway passes over. From here the highway turns south-easterly, perpendicular to the , and travels through another residential part of Bayswater for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi). Tonkin Highway crosses the river via the 270-metre-long (890 ft) Redcliffe Bridge, which takes the highway into , in the City of Belmont LGA.
A grade-separated interchange with Great Eastern Highway is located 350 metres (1,150 ft) south-east of the Redcliffe Bridge. It is a diamond interchange, with an additional north-eastbound to south-eastbound loop ramp. Additionally, Great Eastern Highway's intersection with the south-eastbound exit ramp also connects to Brearly Avenue, the main access road to Perth Airport's domestic terminal. Beyond this interchange, Tonkin Highway is within 's residential areas. A further 750 metres (0.47 mi) takes the highway to the edge of the suburb of , where it becomes the border between Redcliffe to the south-west and Perth Airport to the north-east. After 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi), the highway turns south, travelling in that direction for 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi) before reaching , and a traffic lights at a T junction with Dunreath Drive. Traffic movements are restricted, with no access from Tonkin Highway northbound to Dunreath Drive, nor from Dunreath Drive to Tonkin Highway southbound. Over the next 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi) section, Tonkin Highway curves back to the south-east, meeting Leach Highway at another set of traffic lights. The T junction between the highways is located at the borders between three suburbs: Cloverdale to the west, to the south, and the Perth Airport to the north-east.
Beyond Leach Highway, Tonkin Highway continues past industrial properties for 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi), reaching the set of traffic lights with Kewdale Road to the south-west, and Horrie Miller Drive to the north-east, which leads to Perth Airport's international terminal. After another 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi), the highway reaches Abernethy Road. The only connection is a north-westbound looped exit ramp that merges with a local road, McDowell Street, north of Abernethy Road. A south-eastbound entrance ramp is under construction. Beyond this intersection, the highway enters the Shire of Kalamunda LGA, and is the location of the border between the suburbs of Kewdale to the south-east and to the north-east. It continues along the border for 900 metres (0.56 mi), until it reaches Roe Highway, at a diamond interchange. Roe Highway marks the border between Kewdale and , on the south-western side of Tonkin Highway.
Forrestfield to Oakford
Tonkin Highway travels in a south-easterly direction between residential areas in Forrrestfield and Wattle Grove, reaching Hale Road after 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi). Over the next 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi), the highway curves back to the south. At this point it intersects Welshpool Road East, and is entirely within the suburb of Wattle Grove. Beyond this intersection, Tonkin Highway continues south-east as the border between the semi-rural areas of to the west, and Wattle Grove to the east. This is also the border between the City of Gosnells and Shire of Kalamunda LGAs, which the highway follows for 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi). It then reaches the suburbs of , located west of the highway, and , east of the highway, and from this point on, is entirely within the City of Gosnells. After 750 metres (0.47 mi), the highway crosses Kelvin Road, and continues south-east for a further 2.8 kilometres (1.7 mi). It briefly passes the industrial part of Maddington, before curving slightly around an urban development to reach intersections with Gosnells Road East, and subsequently Gosnells Road West. These are a pair of T-junctions, 260 metres (850 ft) apart, which are not traffic-light controlled. Tonkin Highway follows a gentle reverse curve southwards through for 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi), once more within a semi-rural environment, before reaching a set of traffic lights with Mills Road East and West. Tonkin Highway crosses the Canning River 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) further south, entering . It then curves south-west towards Albany Highway, 650 metres (0.40 mi) away.
Tonkin Highway meets Albany Highway at a folded diamond interchange. The highway splits into local and express lanes on approach to this interchange, and continues in this configuration for 600 metres (0.37 mi). At this point there is a dogbone interchange with Corfield Street, with the highway now marking the boundary between the suburbs of Gosnells and , as well as the City of Gosnells and City of Armadale LGAs. It continues south-westbound, passing between Champion Lakes to the south-east, and undeveloped land to the north-west. After 3.3 kilometres (2.1 mi), there is a T junction with Champion Drive. The highway continues southwest for another 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) until it reaches a set of traffic lights with Ranford Road. Afterwards it is entirely within the City of Armadale LGA, and the suburb of . Tonkin Highway turns south, along a two-kilometre-long (1.2 mi) curve, and meets Armadale Road at another set of traffic lights. The highway continues south through rural land, between Forrestfield to the west, and and to the east. It passes Forrest Road after 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi), only connecting to the eastern leg at a T junction, and 2.2 kilometres (1.4 mi) further on, reaches Rowley Road. Following this traffic controlled intersection, Tonkin Highway is within the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale LGA. The highway follows the eastern edge of for 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi), past low density residential lots. Tonkin Highway ends at Thomas Road, which connects traffic to Kwinana Freeway and South Western Highway.
A proposal for a highway along a similar alignment was first proposed in 1955, as part of a network of arterial roads under a metropolitan-wide plan produced for the Western Australian government by Gordon Stephenson and Alastair Hepburn. The road reservation was formally gazetted in the 1963 Metropolitan Region Scheme.:282 It was first named "Beechboro-Gosnells Highway", the name coming from the two suburbs it was originally planned to link.:311 Like most Perth arterial road projects, the highway was built in stages.:311 It was initially constructed as a 3.3-kilometre-long (2.1 mi) dual carriageway, from Welshpool Road, Wattle Grove to Hardey Road in Cloverdale, which opened on 16 June 1980. A further 12.2 kilometres (7.6 mi), that linked the new highway to Albany Highway in Gosnells, was completed in December 1980.:282–3 This $6.1 million section, which officially opened on 22 December 1980, was the start of a new route between Gosnells and Bellevue,[note 2] and reduced traffic volume and congestion on Albany Highway.:283
The third segment to be constructed was a 3.6-kilometre-long (2.2 mi) section north of the Swan River, from Railway Parade in Bayswater to Morley Drive, which opened on 11 July 1984.:311  This #3.5 million section was constructed by Thiess Contractors Pty Ltd, with Taylor Woodrow International Ltd responsible for constructing the Broun Avenue bridge. Stage 4 linked Hardey Road and Great Eastern Highway, and included the construction of four bridges over the Forrestfield railway marshalling yards, the first bridges in Australia to be constructed using the incremental launch technique.:311 Upon opening on 1 May 1985, Beechboro-Gosnells Highway was renamed "Tonkin Highway", in honour of former Western Australian premier John Tonkin. Tonkin had also been the Minister for Works during the planning and construction of the Narrows Bridge and Kwinana Freeway in the 1950s.:311 A ceremony was held at Redcliffe on 1 May by the Premier Mr Brian Burke, who unveiled a plaque. Mr Tonkin, who at the time was aged 83, cut the ribbon at the ceremony to officially open the new Forrestfield to Redcliffe section of the highway. A grade-separated interchange was constructed at Great Eastern Highway in 1986, which included a six lane road bridge over Tonkin Highway and a pedestrian subway.:312 It was constructed earlier than initially planned, as heavy traffic from Perth Airport was expected during the 1987 America's Cup.:312
Construction on a link between the northern and southern sections of Tonkin Highway began in 1988. Included in this $48 million stage was the Redcliffe Bridge over the Swan River, and an interchange with Guildford Road, north of the bridge.:312 The 270-metre-long (890 ft) Redcliffe Bridge, also built using the incremental launching technique, was designed to carry six traffic lanes, as well as pedestrian and cycle paths that could be converted into traffic lanes when required. The bridge deck is supported by a narrow central section with cantilever extensions on each side, as a "big heavy bridge would have looked out of place":360 at a relatively narrow section of the river. The bridge opened on 16 April 1988, and received awards for engineering excellence from both the national and state branches of the Institute of Engineers, Australia.:359–60
The highway was then extended northwards, reaching Benara Road on 18 December 1989, and Reid Highway on 11 November 1991. Tonkin Highway spent a decade remaining largely unchanged, linking Reid Highway in Malaga with Albany Highway in Gosnells. In 2003, construction of a new southern extension commenced. Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan and the Member for Roleystone, Martin Whitely, participated in a sod turning ceremony on 27 June 2003, to mark the start of the project. At the time, the $140 million extension was the largest single road project in Western Australia. The project was completed in two stages, with Armadale Road as the midpoint. The first 11-kilometre-long (6.8 mi) section, including a new interchange at Albany Highway, was opened by Premier Geoff Gallop and Alannah MacTiernan on 2 April 2005. The original connection to Albany Highway was renamed Ferres Drive. The Forrestdale Business Park and the Champion Lakes precinct were constructed concurrently with the project, to encourage industrial and residential development alongside the new highway section. The remaining seven kilometres (4.3 mi), from Armadale Road through to Thomas Road, opened a year ahead of schedule on 16 December 2005. The new extension improved links with Kwinana, Armadale, Rockingham and Byford. It also provided a new freight route, diverting heavy vehicle traffic away from the existing road network and residential areas.
On 16 April 2012, an intersection with Dunreath Drive opened. This traffic light controlled at-grade intersection allows access to and from the international terminal of Perth Airport, bypassing Tonkin Highway's intersections with Leach Highway and Kewdale Road/Horrie Miller Drive.
A number of improvement works are planned for Tonkin Highway, which will see most of the central and northern sections upgraded to a freeway-standard road with grade separated interchanges. Extensions are also planned at both ends of the highway, which would see the southern end extended to South Western Highway south of Byford, and link the northern end to the future Perth Darwin National Highway near Ballajura.
The Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project is a $1 billion project that will upgrade the road network around Perth Airport. It is the largest project Main Roads Western Australia has ever undertaken, covering the upgrade of Tonkin and Leach highways, and the construction of four new interchanges. The project is jointly funded by state and federal governments, which are providing $317.5 million and $686.4 million respectively.
As part of the project, Tonkin Highway will be expanded from two to three lanes in both directions, between Great Eastern Highway and Roe Highway, and the existing intersections in this section will be grade separated. A new diamond interchange will be constructed at Boud Avenue, to provide access to the domestic terminal precinct. International terminal access will be provided via a new freeway-to-freeway cloverstack interchange at Leach Highway, and a single-point urban interchange to be constructed at Tonkin Highway's intersection with Horrie Miller Drive and Kewdale Road. The existing diamond interchange with Roe Highway will only be upgraded to a partial freeway-to-freeway interchange, but with plans to further upgrade it to a completely free-flowing interchange in the future.
|Animated flyover video showing the planned upgrades (WMV) from Main Roads Western Australia|
In January 2013, works was undertaken to protect or relocate sections of the Canning Trunk water main and the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline in the vicinity of the project. Construction on the Gateway WA project officially began on 1 February 2013 with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by the state and federal transport ministers, Troy Buswell and Anthony Albanese. The first section being constructed is an entrance ramp from Abernethy Road to Tonkin Highway southbound. Work on the Leach Highway interchange is expected to commence at the end of 2013,[dated info] with construction of the other interchanges scheduled to start at the end of 2014. The whole project is due to be completed by 2017.
Tonkin Highway reaches past the edge of suburbia at its southern extent. Planning provides for it to be extended when required. The initial plans indicated the extension would continue south through undeveloped or semi-rural areas such as Mundijong, Cardup & Jarrahdale. South of Mundijong, the planned route would deviate east to terminate at South Western Highway near Jarrahdale Road, which would then be upgraded.:1 Following the 2001 state election, the new government abandoned the Jarrahdale Road option, preferring a shorter route that deviated to South Western Highway near Orton Street, closer to Byford.:2 In July 2012, seven years after the previous extension was completed, the Minister for Transport announced the formation of a community working group to investigate an extension of Tonkin Highway beyond Thomas Road. The group met several times to identify and evaluate possible solutions to traffic congestion in the area, and prepare a strategic business case for the next extension. As of 19 February 2013[update], the preferred options are to extend the highway to South Western Highway, at a location either south of Lakes Road or south of Mundijong Road.
NorthLink WA is a project that will see both the northern section of Tonkin Highway upgraded, and the road extended northwards to bypass Great Northern Highway within Perth. These two component projects are separately funded, with both the state and federal governments contributing to each project. Construction is expected to begin in 2016, and be completed by 2019.
Planning is in place for a future extension north. Such an extension would bring the highway to Hepburn Avenue, near the north-eastern corner of Ballajura. These plans see the extension linking to the proposed new Perth Darwin National Highway (PDNH) Swan Valley Bypass, which would continue north towards Ellenbrook. The previously planned route of the PDNH, prior to 2012, followed Lord Street, east of Whiteman Park. While still in the planning stages, the state and federal governments have allocated funding to the project, with construction scheduled to start in 2016.
The federal government has allocated $140.6 million to grade-separate Tonkin Highway's intersections with Benara Road, Morley Drive and Collier Road. The funding is part of the next five-year phase of the Nation Building Program, from 2014–15 to 2018–19. The upgrades are intended to improve freight transportation along the highway. The total cost is expected to be $281.2 million. In the lead up to the 2013 Australian federal election, which resulted in a change a government, Labor candidate for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan, accused the then-opposition's candidate of lying to the electorate over their commitment to the upgrade. The official policy costings did not contain specific funding for the project. However, an opposition spokesperson claimed it was "in the current forward estimates", and not in the costing, as the upgrade was neither a "new and accelerated" project, nor a project that would definitely not be funded.
Interchanges and intersections
|Swan||– border||0.00||0.00||Reid Highway (State Route 3)||Northern highway terminus: continues as Reid Highway westbound at traffic light controlled T junction|
|Bayswater||Noranda–border||0.90||0.56||Benara Road, Midland,||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Morley||2.40||1.49||Morley Drive westbound (State Route 76) / Morley Drive East (State Route 76)||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Bayswater||4.36||2.71||Collier Road, Morley||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Guildford Road (State Route 51), Midland||Folded diamond interchange|
|Great Eastern Highway (National Highway 94 / National Route 1) –Perth, Midland, Perth Airport domestic terminal||Modified diamond interchange: additional looped southbound entry ramp; provides access to/from Perth Airport via Brearley Avenue|
|Perth Airport– border||11.26||7.00||Dunreath Drive – Perth Airport international terminal||Southbound exit and northbound entrance only via traffic light controlled T junction|
|Perth Airport–Cloverdale–tripoint||12.40||7.71||Leach Highway (State Route 7)||Traffic light controlled T junction|
|Perth Airport–Kewdale border||13.71||8.52||Kewdale Road south-west / Horrie Miller Drive north-eastPerth Airport international terminal, Welshpool,||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Belmont–Kalamunda border||14.86||9.23||Abernethy Road (State Route 55)||Northbound exit only via loop ramp that merges with McDowell Street; southbound entrance ramp under construction|
|Kalamunda||Kewdale–Wattle Grove tripoint–||15.70–
|Roe Highway (State Route 3) – Fremantle, Midland|
|Forrestfield–Wattle Grove border||17.28||10.74||Hale Road||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Wattle Grove||18.80||11.68||Welshpool Road East (State Route 8), Perth, Welshpool||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Gosnells||Orange Grove border–||21.40||13.30||Kelvin Road||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|24.20||15.04||Gosnells Road East – Orange Grove||T junction|
|Maddington–Orange Grove–tripoint||24.47||15.20||Gosnells Road West – Maddington||T junction|
|Martin||26.52||16.48||Mills Road East / Mills Road West||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Bridge over river|
|Gosnells–Armadale border||Champion Lakes tripoint– –||28.01–
|Albany Highway (State Route 30) , Perth||Folded diamond interchange|
|Gosnells–Champion Lakes border||28.80–
|Corfield Street – Gosnells,||Dogbone interchange|
|Champion Lakes||32.45||20.16||Champion Drive – Camillo, Kelmscott,||Traffic light controlled T junction|
|Champion Lakes–Southern River tripoint–||35.11||21.82||Ranford Road (State Route 13), Fremantle||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Armadale||Forrestdale–border||37.10||23.05||Armadale Road (State Route 14)||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Forrestdale–Haynes–tripoint||38.59||23.98||Forrest Road, Armadale||T junction|
|Armadale–Serpentine-Jarrahdale border||Forrestdale–Hilbert–tripoint||40.77||25.33||Rowley Road||Traffic light controlled intersection|
|Serpentine-Jarrahdale||Oakford–Darling Downs border||44.03||27.36||Thomas Road (State Route 21) to Kwinana Freeway (State Route 2) / to South Western Highway (State Route 20)||Highway terminus: traffic light controlled T junction|
- Highways in Australia
- List of highways in Western Australia
- List of major roads in Perth, Western Australia
- In Western Australia, control of access restricts access to the road to specified points, and revokes the right of adjoining land from having direct vehicle and pedestrian access. Junctions are not required to be grade-separated.
- This new route was a north–south link along Perth's foothills, composed of Tonkin Highway from Gosnells to Forrestfield, and Roe Highway from Forrestfield to Bellevue. This section of Roe Highway was also built in the early 1980s.:311
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- Main Roads Act 1930 (WA) s 28a
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tonkin Highway.|
- Main Roads Western Australia
- Gateway WA – Perth Airport and Freight Access Project
- 1955 Atlas – "Plan for the Metropolitan Region" (Stephenson & Hepburn). Plate 9 is a map of proposed developments, including a highway on a similar alignment to Tonkin Highway.