The Western Australian Government has announced the new alignment for the replacement Fremantle Traffic Bridge, with the news welcomed by the City of Fremantle.
The state and federal governments committed matching funding to replace the heritage-listed Fremantle Traffic Bridge with new road and rail bridges after the $230 million Swan River Crossings project was included on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list in 2019.
The new bridge was initially proposed to be built to the east of the existing traffic bridge, which prompted concerns from the community that it would be too close to residential apartments and have a negative impact on the surrounding area.
In response to those concerns, in September 2020 Fremantle Council called on the government to pause development of the project, enabling further community engagement.
Following extensive community consultation, the Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, and Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, announced an alignment between the existing traffic bridge and rail bridge was now the preferred option.
Fremantle Deputy Mayor, Andrew Sullivan, said it was pleasing the government had taken the feedback from the Council and community on board.
“The new alignment is very similar to what the City proposed in our Freo 2029: Transformational Moves strategy and is the one the Council selected as its preferred option back in June,” Cr Sullivan said.
“It means the new infrastructure and traffic impact will be furthest away from existing residents at Northbank, and optimises the space east of the bridges for place-making and public realm improvements.
“The western alignment also creates the potential to investigate changing the intersection at Canning Highway to put priority movement along Queen Victoria Street, and may increase the possibility of gaining additional space in front of Naval Stores building.
“Now that the alignment of the new traffic bridge is finalised, we look forward to working with the state government and its alliance team on the design aspects of the Swan River Crossing project to achieve the best possible outcomes for the community.”
Cr Sullivan said the future of the existing 83-year-old traffic bridge was a subject that required further discussion.
“The retention of the old traffic bridge for pedestrians and cyclists and use as public space was put forward by the City in our Freo 2029: Transformational Moves strategy, and it’s something we’d support the state government exploring if it was technically and financially feasible,” Cr Sullivan said.
“If the old bridge was to be retained it would be appropriate for the state government to be responsible for its ongoing maintenance, given it’s on the State Heritage Register and would become a place for the whole WA public to enjoy.”