- State Budget includes $230 million job-creating project for new Fremantle Traffic Bridge
- New bridge will create 1,500 jobs and offers potential to separate freight and Transperth train lines
- McGowan Government secures 50 per cent Commonwealth contribution
- Project successfully placed on Infrastructure Australia's 2019 priority list
- Better connections for cyclists and pedestrians to be part of new bridge
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 McGowan 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 McGowan 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.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"This new bridge will put an end to the expensive patch ups on the old structure, which has served the area well for 80 years but is deteriorating and becoming a liability.
"Replacing the Fremantle Traffic Bridge will create 1,500 jobs and will ensure public safety - not just for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, but also boats using the Swan River below.
"As METRONET expands across Perth, so will passenger demand and train frequency, which is why we need to carefully plan this vital river crossing to accommodate for both transport modes.
"Replacing the Fremantle Traffic Bridge is also an opportunity to examine the opportunities to expand rail access into Fremantle - both for passenger and freight trains.
"With increased rail capacity, the new bridge could unlock the next phase of the expansion of freight on rail and reducing truck movements on metropolitan roads."
Comments attributed to Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk:
"It has long been recognised that while the Fremantle Traffic Bridge has served us well for many decades, it needs replacing.
"I am very pleased the State Labor Government has been able to secure equal Federal funding to make this important project happen which will improve access to Fremantle for freight, cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
"This is an important gateway to Fremantle. Rail is essential to managing freight from the Port and this opportunity to modernise our rail infrastructure across the river is very welcome."
Minister's office - 6552 5500