Premier Richard Court says the new $16.4 million Goongoongup Bridge is an outstanding illustration of modern construction and design which will serve Western Australian rail passengers well into the next century.
Mr Court was speaking at the official opening of the new bridge, which replaces the old timber Bunbury Bridge across the Swan River from the East Perth foreshore to Burswood.
"The Goongoongup Bridge is the biggest rail bridge ever built in this State by Westrail and its name is derived from the Nyungar word for the Claisebrook area," he said.
Built to meet the demands of increasing rail traffic, the Goongoongup Bridge is constructed of concrete and also features a dual-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
The original timber bridge was built just over a century ago as part of the Perth to Pinjarra rail link and was rebuilt in 1932 after being damaged by floods.
"It became increasingly expensive to maintain and caused regular bottlenecks in peak traffic, as trains had to wait their turn to cross the single-gauge bridge," Mr Court said.
"Train commuters on the Armadale line have lost their best excuse for being late for work as the new bridge means they are no longer delayed waiting for a train to proceed from the opposite direction."
Award-winning consulting engineers Bruechle, Gilchrist and Evans were commissioned by Westrail in 1992 to design the new bridge, which was built in 26 individual concrete sections, all poured at the site.
The spans were erected in three sections to cover the distance of 407 metres, using a technique which was pioneered in Australia by the contract engineers.
Mr Court said the design brief took into account the proposed construction of a second bridge, two metres north of the Goongoongup Bridge, to carry road traffic as part of the Northern City Bypass route.
"When viewed from the river the two spans will appear as one," he said.