Smart Freeway Perth

How to navigate Perth’s new smart freeway

Smart Freeway Perth

Kwinana Freeway is now a Smart Freeway, so what does this mean for motorists? Well, if you’ve ever travelled northbound on Kwinana Freeway during peak periods, chances are you’ve experienced the congestion on the busy 15km stretch between Roe Highway and the Narrows Bridge, especially at the Canning Highway on-ramp. Now with new upgrades, the traffic will flow better.

The main upgrades include:

  • Permanently converting the emergency lane between Canning Highway and the Narrows Bridge into an additional traffic lane that would run fulltime. This is known as ‘All Lane Running’ and provides extra capacity and improves traffic flow on the freeway. The railway line and Swan River makes it too challenging to widen that section the traditional way.
  • Installing new detectors in the road to help remotely track traffic flow and detect congestion.
  • Remotely adjusting traffic speed limits to improve traffic flow.
  • Remotely opening and closing lanes in different situations such as when there’s an incident or when emergency services need help getting through traffic. These smart technologies are similar to what’s already being used in the Northbridge Tunnel.
  • Installing new traffic lights on the entry ramps at Farrington Road, South Street, Leach highway and Cranford Avenue to streamline the traffic merging onto the freeway.
  • Using new electronic signals to display which lanes are open or closed, therefore making it easier and safer to merge. Improved electronic message boards have also been installed to inform motorists of real-time traffic conditions coming up ahead.
  • Introducing emergency stopping bays at regular intervals for breakdown emergencies and incidents. These bays are being monitored and should be avoided unless there’s a breakdown emergency or incident. They should not be used for non-urgent tasks such as answering your phone.
  • Actively monitoring the smart freeway in real time 24/7 from their Road Network Operations Centre (including through 15 CCTV cameras on the Smart Freeway Perth) and having a dedicated incident response team on call 24/7 for deployment when needed.

This is fantastic news as we should be able to enjoy a faster yet smoother, safer, and more reliable drive between Roe Highway and the Narrows Bridge, especially during these peak periods. Road users are already saying that this smart technology is saving them 10 to 15 minutes in travel time.

How the new electronic overhead signs work

The new speed limit sign above your lane displays the maximum speed for that part of the smart freeway. Just adjust your speed accordingly. However, if the sign changes to a White Arrow, you must move to the lane that it’s pointing to as soon as it is safe for you to do so. If a Red X appears above a lane, this means that lane is closed from that point and you must not enter it. If you were in that lane, you must move out of it as quickly as you can. Safely, of course.

In some sections of the freeway, you’ll see an electronic message board on the left-hand side of the speed limit sign. The board is there to warn you about issues and road conditions ahead that may affect your journey.

Main Roads is running a comprehensive driver education campaign to educate road users on these changes. Watch this short video for a quick introduction.

Fines for speeding on the Smart Freeway Perth

Although the cameras on the Smart Freeway are not currently being used to enforce road rules and penalties, they’re being used to monitor road user behaviour, spot speed violations and detect and capture anyone who ignores the Red X.

During the first 12 months of the Smart Freeway Perth opening, you won’t be fined if caught speeding. But if you exceed the speed limit, your speed will be displayed on an overhead sign for everyone to see.

You’ll also be sent a written warning, but you won’t lose any demerits during this trial period. If you ignore lane closures or misuse the breakdown bays, expect to be issued with a warning.

We remind our learner drivers to observe all speed reductions and warning signs on all roads at all times when practicing their driving.

Let us introduce you to Perth’s first smart freeway

Learner drivers can drive on Perth’s freeways during their driving lessons. If you’d like to book a lesson that takes you on Perth’s new smart freeway, just let us know. All our driving instructors are familiar with the smart freeway and can teach you how to navigate it safely and accurately.

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