Perth’s first Smart Freeway officially opened on Sunday and drivers on the Kwinana Freeway were the first to experience what the WA Government promises to be “a faster, safer and more reliable journey”.
According to Main Roads it was estimated commuters using the Kwinana Freeway northbound between Roe Highway to the Narrows Bridge – between 8am to 9am on Monday – “saved nine minutes and 30 seconds off their commute.”
WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said in a media conference on Monday that real-time monitoring showed an “actual increase in average speed” along south sections of the freeway.
Although there have been some issues with drivers stopping in emergency lanes, Ms Saffioti told media that so far the feedback has been really positive.
Department of Transport supplied The WA Daily with comparative vision of the Freeway from yesterday morning compared to a few weeks ago.
One commuter told The WA Daily that it was difficult to know whether the new system was efficient on their drove home from Murdoch yesterday afternoon.
“Hard to tell if the new smart freeway saved time because of an accident near the Narrows bridge and two lanes were closed,” said one commuter.
“One of the other problems is that while Kwinana is ‘smart’, Mitchell freeway is dumb. Once you get on it heading north it’s a rolling jam.”
Gretta, anther freeway user, told WA Daily that the drive toward Perth in the morning was much better yesterday and today. “Monday I got on at Farrington and off at Canning Bridge. Today I got on at South Street and off at Canning Bridge. Monday was significantly better than Tuesday which was still extremely better than before,” she said.
The new smart technology allows Main Roads’ Network Operations Centre to actively manage the freeway in real time by controlling the flow of traffic, opening and closing traffic lanes, and adjusting speed limits when required.
The $56 million Smart Freeway project is expected to deliver a quicker and smoother journey between Roe Highway and the Narrows Bridge during the morning peak hour.
Traffic entering the freeway from Canning Highway during peak periods is a major contributor to congestion. By converting the existing emergency lane from Canning Highway to the Narrows Bridge into an additional traffic lane, this bottleneck is expected to ease.
“The Smart Freeway Project itself is expected to save time and create a smoother drive for motorists from Roe Highway to the Narrows Bridge,” Ms Saffioti said on Sunday.
“This is the first time we have used this technology in WA and I thank everyone in advance for their patience while we get used to this new system.”