Main Roads WA is reporting just now, as Christmas and New Year descends upon us, that ‘Design is progressing’ on the ‘Swan River Crossings Project’, that is the project to remove most of the Old Traffic Bridge and replace it with a new traffic bridge as well as construct a new rail bridge nearby.
As we know, the project is being undertaken by the Fremantle Bridges Alliance, a consortium made up of Main Roads WA, Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction, Arup and WSP.
As to progress on ‘Design’ the advice is that –
Planning and development is continuing on the Swan River Crossings Project. Following community and stakeholder feedback, our project team are currently reviewing and assessing alignments at the southern intersection at Queen Victoria Street (Fremantle Traffic Bridge) and Canning Highway, Fremantle. The design assessment is ongoing, and further details will be available soon.
Early investigations and geotechnical works commenced in April this year and involved extensive water, service and road pavement inspections to inform the design development for this project. The works are progressing well and are expected to be completed in early 2022. Thank you for your ongoing patience while we undertake these important early phases of works.
Connecting North Fremantle Station to the Swan River
The Swan River Crossings Project includes building the next stage of the Fremantle Principal Shared Path (PSP), which will connect North Fremantle Train Station to a new bridge over the Swan River.
The Stage 4 Fremantle PSP will be located within the existing rail corridor of the Fremantle line, which includes a bridge over Tydeman Road. It will connect to the recently opened 2.1 km PSP between Victoria Street Station and North Fremantle Station. The new PSP will improve pedestrian and cycling connectivity, providing a connected, and continuous route for pedestrians and cyclists, creating safer access to the local and surrounding areas.
As to ‘Bridge condition‘, the advice is that the recent routine inspection of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, undertaken as part of Main Roads Asset Management Strategy for timber bridges, has confirmed the timber and steel elements of the bridge are continuing to deteriorate. A summary of the preliminary findings of the bridge condition is currently being developed.
Main Roads WA also list what they say are ‘frequently asked questions’, and provide their answers to them, as follows.
Will it be easier to navigate under the new bridges?
In late 2020, Main Roads sought feedback from the community and stakeholders about the Swan River Crossings Project. A key issue raised during consultation was the safety for river users navigating through the narrow channel under the bridge and the overhead bridge clearance.
The project is designed to offer improved river user safety with higher and wider spans for yachts and recreational boats, emergency services (such as Water Police vessels) and it will have the capacity to accommodate new, larger vessels and future tourism growth.
What about cycling and walking paths?
We plan to build a new bridge which will provide significantly better amenity for people walking and cycling across the river.
Why do we need a new rail bridge?
Currently, freight and passenger services share one rail bridge. The project will build a new rail bridge exclusively for passenger trains, which means the existing one can be dedicated to freight, significantly improving current capacity. Having different train systems share a section of track not only requires complex management but is impacting the volume of freight that can be shifted by rail.
Rail freight currently takes more than 105,000 trucks off our roads each year, but this is nearing capacity. Unless we improve the current situation to maximise the use of rail, more freight will have to be shifted by trucks on our roads.
When will the construction begin?
There will be construction impacts for nearby residents, businesses, and road users. Early works are expected to commence in mid-2022.
Will there be traffic and rail disruption during construction?
Yes, there will be some disruptions throughout the project, and we will keep the community up to date – that includes train and bus travellers, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists as well as boaties and ferry operators.
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