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Leach Highway

Leach Highway, Myaree, Western Australia, April 2006.JPG
Leach Highway in Melville
General information
Length23 km (14 mi)
Route number(s)
Major junctions
East endAirport Drive, Perth Airport
West end High Street (State Route 7), Palmyra
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 four and six lanes, with speed limits of 70 and 80 km/h (43 and 50 mph).

Route description

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 the 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 it to the Stirling Highway.


Leach Highway is named for J. D. "Digby" Leach, former Commissioner of Main Roads Western Australia. Construction began in 1966, with the first section opened between its present western terminus at Carrington Street, Melville (now Palmyra), and High Road in Canning (now Willetton) in 1972.[2]

It was soon extended eastward from High Road through to Manning Road, utilising the old timber Riverton Bridge over the Canning River via Barbican Street East and what is now Fern Road and Grayson Court.[3] 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][3]

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

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 an increase 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 Welshpool 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.[4]

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.

Gateway WA

Main article: Gateway WA

As part of the Gateway WA project, which commenced in 2013 and was completed in March 2016, Leach Highway was upgraded[5] 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.[5]

Future upgrades

Welshpool Road interchange

In February 2018, then Federal Opposition transport and infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese pledged to put $46.5 million toward upgrading 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.[7] The cost of the upgrade was at the time estimated to cost $93 million[8]

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. 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 single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Although also grade-separated, the Centenary Avenue interchange is controlled by traffic lights on the westbound side of the highway.

BelmontPerth Airport, Cloverdale, Kewdale tripoint0.000.00 Tonkin Highway (State Route 4)  – Morley, Ellenbrook, Armadale, Perth Airport terminals T3/T4Grand Gateway interchange; modified combination interchange; northbound-to-westbound controlled by traffic lights at the Leach Highway/Abernethy Road interchange due to close distance to Abernethy Road interchange. Leach Highway eastbound terminus, continues as Airport Drive northeastbound to Perth Airport terminals T1/T2
Cloverdale, Kewdale boundary1.400.87 Abernethy Road (State Route 55),  – Belmont, HazelmereSingle-point urban interchange, also handles Tonkin northbound to Leach westbound traffic prior to merging to avoid the need for weaving.
Belmont-Canning boundaryKewdale, Welshpool boundary3.32.1 Orrong Road (State Route 8),  – Perth, Burswood, KalamundaSignalised diamond interchange.
CanningWelshpool4.42.7Welshpool Road,  – East Victoria Park, East CanningtonCurrently an at-grade intersection with traffic lights; interchange construction to start in early 2021 with completion date in late 2022.
Bentley6.13.8 Albany Highway (State Route 30),  – Perth, Victoria Park, Cannington, AlbanySignalised diamond interchange.
Bentley, Wilson boundary6.74.2 Manning Road (State Route 26),  – Manning, Waterford, Cannington
Wilson7.84.8Bungaree Road
8.65.3Centenary Avenue - Curtin UniversityModified parclo interchange, Leach eastbound free flowing while Leach westbound has a signalised intersection with the Centenary Avenue onramp. All three other ramps are uncontrolled, meeting to the north at a signalised intersection with a bus lane priority arrangement in place.
Canning River8.8–
Shelley Bridge
CanningShelley10.16.3Barbican Street West west / Vahland Avenue south - Willetton, Leeming
Riverton, Shelley, Willetton tripoint11.77.3 High Road (State Route 27) - Parkwood, Lynwood
Rossmoyne, Willetton boundary12.47.7 Karel Avenue - Bull Creek, Leeming, Jandakot Airport
Canning-Melville boundaryRossmoyne, Bull Creek boundary13.08.1Webb Street
MelvilleBrentwood, Bull Creek boundary13.88.6Bull Creek Drive
Brentwood–BatemanBull Creek tripoint14.1–
Kwinana Freeway (National Route 1 northbound only/ State Route 2) – Perth, Joondalup, RockinghamNational Route 1 eastern concurrency terminus; modified Parclo interchange with Leach westbound to Kwinana northbound and Leach eastbound to Kwinana southbound looped: access to Bull Creek railway station
Brentwood–Bateman boundary15.09.3Moolyeen Road - Mount Pleasant, Applecross
BatemanBooragoon-Winthrop tripoint15.39.5Murdoch Drive - Murdoch, Murdoch University
Booragoon-Winthrop boundary16.09.9Riseley Street - Ardross
17.010.6Winthrop Drive - Kardinya
Myaree-Winthrop boundary17.310.7Norma RoadNo right turn from Norma Road to Leach Highway westbound
Myaree-Winthrop-Willagee tripoint17.911.1North Lake Road - Alfred Cove, Kardinya, Cockburn Central
Melville-Palmyra-Willagee boundary20.012.4 Stock Road (National Route 1) - Attadale, O'Connor, RockinghamNational Route 1 western concurrency terminus
Melville-Fremantle boundaryPalmyra-Fremantle boundary21.413.3Carrington Street - Bicton, White Gum Valley, Hamilton HillLeach Highway westbound terminus, continues as High Street (State Route 7) to Fremantle

See also


  1. ^ "High Street Upgrading Study" (PDF). Estill and Associates. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Leach Highway - A Success Story Australian Transport September 1978 page 30
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Wyatt, Ben. "Ben Wyatt's Newsletter 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Gateway WA - Project Master Plan" (PDF). Gateway Vision. April 2012. 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 Intersection Upgrade".
  8. ^ "Leach Highway (Welshpool Road) Interchange" (PDF). Australian Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.

Further reading

Route map: