Bridge neglected

• Rosaria Imbroglia at the Leighton footbridge, which a local says could be at risk because of neglect. Photo
by Steve Grant.

A PEDESTRIAN footbridge connecting North Fremantle residents with Leighton Beach has been allowed to deteriorate to the point its future might be at risk, warns a local.

Mark Bailey, managing director of a large marine environmental consultancy, uses the footbridge to wander down and catch a de-stressing sunset after a busy day’s work, but is finding the walk across the iron and timber structure less zen-like than it should be.

“We are all too aware that our bit of heaven in North Freo sits in no man’s land, ignored by Freo and everything north,” Mr Bailey says.

“Same with electorates; despite its charms, this will never be an area glad-handled by pollies of any persuasion.

“However, allowing such an iconic, irreplaceable structure to slowly rust away for want of a cheery picker and a lick of paint is just madness.”

Mr Bailey says he’s concerned that unless maintenance is done soon, it will become too expensive in the future and the state government may simply decided to pull the bridge down.

The footbridge was constructed around 1965 as WA moved towards standard gauge rail, and is considered to be the most significant historical structure in the Leighton Beach marshalling yards by the State Heritage Office.

“The bridge is a Vierendeel truss bridge designed by eminent Australian government engineer Donald G Williams and believed to be the only remaining Vierendeel truss bridge in existence in the state,” states the SHO’s report on the yards.

Mosman Park’s Rosaria Imbroglia says the bridge is also difficult to use because on the Stirling Highway side there’s no markings to help pedestrians get across the busy road.

North Fremantle Community Association president Gerry MacGill says the bridge hasn’t really been on their radar, but he says it is a valuable asset the community needs and he’d take up the issue with Fremantle council to get them to lobby the Public Transport Authority, which owns the bridge. The PTA was contacted for comment.

by STEVE GRANT

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