The Fremantle Traffic Bridge over the Swan River, originally built in 1938 as a temporary structure, is finally set to be rebuilt, creating 1,500 jobs.
The WA Government has included the $230 million project in the upcoming State Budget, having successfully pitched the project to the Commonwealth Government for a funding contribution.
Infrastructure Australia also recently listed the bridge replacement as a national priority in its annual Infrastructure Priority List following submissions from the State Government.
Deterioration of the bridge’s pylons led to a disruptive temporary closure in 2016, prompting expensive strengthening works under the previous government which withdrew funding to replace the bridge in 2011.
Replacing the traffic bridge will put an end to expensive patch ups while offering new opportunities to integrate additional rail capacity at a key bottleneck caused by passenger and freight trains sharing the same rail bridge.
The amount of container freight moving to and from the Fremantle Inner Harbour by rail is reaching record levels under the WA Government (22.8 per cent in March 2019), easing pressure on arterial roads to the port.
But constraints caused by rail bridge capacity at the Swan River crossing in Fremantle will restrict future growth in the share of freight moving to Fremantle Port by rail.
The Public Transport Authority is currently working closely with Main Roads Western Australia on the business case for the Fremantle Traffic Bridge replacement, which has been broadened to consider rail options. This could unlock the next expansion of freight on rail by enabling a greater proportion of containers taken by train to the port.
Meanwhile, the new bridge will also address a key barrier in the Perth to Fremantle cycle route with the inclusion of modern standard cycling and pedestrian facilities.
The State Government has met with the City of Fremantle and will investigate the feasibility of retaining parts of the old bridge for community use, subject to design of the new structure and future engineering investigations.
It is anticipated construction of the bridge would start in 2021-22 and take approximately two years to complete.
Source: WA Government