A striking new gateway into the City of Parramatta is now complete with the Alfred Street Bridge open to the public, forming an important part in a growing network of active transport links to make the City easier to navigate for pedestrians and bike riders.

The 4.5m-wide, 200m-long Alfred Street Bridge spans the Parramatta River between James Ruse Drive and Gasworks Bridge. Now complete, it provides the City’s growing population with a convenient, safe and scenic connection over the river, directly to the future Stage 1 Parramatta Light Rail.

A truly unique design, this is Australia’s first true diagonal arch bridge, designed so the arches are arranged diagonally in relation to the bridge’s horizontal axis. The bridge shifts in orientation curving from the east at the Alfred Street entry to the west at the Baludarri Drive end and connecting neighbourhoods on either side of the Parramatta River. The unique diagonal arch gives people the opportunity to enjoy the experience of moving through the arch whether they are on the deck or passing underneath on a ferry.

The $19 million project has been co-funded by the City of Parramatta Council and the New South Wales Government – which has provided a $11.5 million funding contribution through grants from Transport for New South Wales and the Department of Planning and Environment. New South Wales Minister for Transport, Jo Haylen, said the bridge was an important connection for Parramatta and beyond.

“The Alfred Street Bridge is a stunning new connection across the Parramatta River for people walking or jumping on their bikes,” Ms Haylen said.

“With an estimated 1.5 billion walking and bike riding trips taken each year across New South Wales, it’s vital we make active transport options safer and easier.”

A new landmark

Constructing the Alfred Street Bridge was an incredible undertaking for Council with around 280t of Australian BlueScope steel being used to fabricate the deck and arch, as well as over 780m3 of concrete being used in the construction of the bridge. City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Pierre Esber, said he was proud to officially open this much-needed bridge to the community.

“Alfred Street Bridge is a distinctive new landmark for our City that will make it safer and faster for our growing community to travel throughout Parramatta,” Lord Mayor Esber said.

“We live in a beautiful City and Alfred Street Bridge will cut down commute times and make it easier to connect to public transport and travel to the CBD. It’s an important link that will connect the community to more than 20 kilometres of pedestrian and cycling paths to enjoy and explore our natural surroundings.

“For those who live north of the Parramatta River, this bridge will cut the trip into the CBD by up to 20 minutes.”

A spokesperson for Council said the project would provide many benefits for the growing Parramatta community, creating an essential connection to open green space, the future light rail stop, restaurants, urban services and would create easy access to the Parramatta River.

“The bridge will connect our community to the great outdoors and allow users to explore more than 20km of off road paths along the Parramatta River. It also establishes two new recreational loops based on the two bridges either side of Alfred Street,” the spokesperson said.

The project is a key element within a network of planned pedestrian and cyclist networks centred on the Parramatta River and Alfred Street.

Council has worked in collaboration with the New South Wales Government to plan and deliver this network, which is expected to be completed within 12 months.

From left to right: City of Parramatta Councillors Henry Green and Phil Bradley, City of Parramatta CEO Gail Connolly, City of Parramatta Councillor Dr Patricia Prociv, Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber, New South Wales Transport Minister Jo Haylen, New South Wales Member for Parramatta Donna Davis, Cr Cameron MacLean, City of Parramatta City Planning and Design Executive Director Jennifer Concato, Cr Kellie Darley, and City of Parramatta City Engagement and Experience Executive Director Angela Jones-Blayney.

High expectations

As an important gateway in and out of the Parramatta CBD, the Alfred Street Bridge design had to meet high expectations.

“The design team for the bridge was selected in the tender not just on their experience, but through demonstrating how the architectural and engineering teams would work together to deliver an exceptional result,” the spokesperson for City of Parramatta said.

“The design team was challenged by Council to prepare a number of simple yet elegant solutions for the review of an expert Design Review Panel. Ultimately, the diagonal arch was recommended by the Panel as not only the most appropriate response to the setting, but it also meant people travelling on the river over the bridge would pass ‘through’ the arch.”

The spokesperson also explained that strong coordination between Council, the New South Wales Government and local stakeholders – throughout the design and construction phases – has been key to the success of this project.

“The bridge was very complex to design and deliver. The design was tested to withstand both high-velocity winds and floodwaters,” the spokesperson said.

Off-site in Western Sydney more than 30 workers fabricated the deck and arch using 280t of Australian BlueScope steel, with transporting these assets to the site proving to be a challenge. “Each was fabricated in three pieces, then trucked from Western Sydney to the site on oversized prime movers in the night.

The deck pieces, then the arch, were assembled on site and each lifted into position using a 750t crane. The steel cables that support the deck had to be manufactured in Italy and a specialist team had to fly in to oversee the installation.

Widespread community support

The project has trended on social media, with members of the community expressing enthusiasm and curiosity about the bridge, affectionately known as “Alfie” for now until it is formally named, as well as sharing pictures of the construction progress. Long-time Parramatta resident, Greg Temme, has lived in the area since 1985. He has watched the bridge come to life from his apartment window, and said the Alfred Street Bridge will cut down his travel times by up to 20 minutes.

“We’re really looking forward to the opening of the Alfred Street Bridge. It will be a life-changing addition for us, it’s going to make it so much quicker to visit the town centre and the local shops,” Mr Temme said.

“We’ll be able to cross the bridge and connect to the future Parramatta Light Rail stop at Tramway Avenue where we can travel straight to Western Sydney University, Westmead Hospital, Eat Street and Parramatta CBD.”

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber and NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen.

Transport gateway

Since the launch of the design in 2017, community support has brewed and it was well received once Alfie was opened in January 2024, with commuters quickly adopting the new route. “Alfred Street Bridge is already popular with both pedestrians and cyclists, with hundreds using it everyday,” Mayor Esber said.

“Almost 500 people on average travel over our beautiful Parramatta River every day. We expect this to increase throughout the year as we complete the connecting pedestrian and cycling network to the south, and once the Parramatta Light Rail stop on Tramway Ave is operational.

“Our vision for Parramatta sees a further increase in active transport, and Alfred Street Bridge is just one of many pieces of infrastructure planned to help make life easier for our residents who leave the car at home and want to take a leisurely ride or walk for fun, or to travel to work or study.

“Alfred Street Bridge is just one part of a large active transport route – we encourage everyone to come have a look and enjoy the river views while walking over this beautiful bridge.”

But the work doesn’t finish here. Pedestrian and cyclist paths are being planned for staged delivery south of the Parramatta River, along Alfred Street down to Parramatta Road, to provide safe and enjoyable pedestrian and cyclist access to the bridge.

Most importantly, the community will have the opportunity to name the bridge with community consultation planned for 2024, but for now the Parramatta community can take advantage of the new “Alfie” gateway.

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