Groups eye port in traffic bridge talks

A PROMISE to reconsider the alignment of a replacement for the Fremantle Traffic Bridge has been welcomed by local groups, but they want the consultation to go further.

Earlier this month the construction company responsible for the eye-catching “pearl” headquarters of Middle East company Aldar – as well as the more workhorsy North Lake/Armadale Road link across the Kwinana Freeway – won the contract to design and construct the replacement bridge.

Squeeze

Laing O’Rourke Australia will form an alliance with engineers Arup and WSP Australia to move the project forward, with a promise to have another look at whether a new crossing could squeeze between the existing traffic and rail bridges. 

Main Roads wants the bridge up-river of the existing bridge, putting it at odds with Fremantle council and residents of Northbank who’d end up with trains on their doorsteps.

Local Labor MP Simone McGurk said it was an opportunity to get a bridge that appealed to the public: “We recognise the importance of this project to Fremantle locals, so facilitating informed and meaningful community input on the new structure is essential,” Ms McGurk said.

The Better Bridge campaign and North Fremantle Community Association want the new consultation phase to cover a wider range of issues than previously.

“This is a project of regional, indeed state-wide significance,” said spokesperson Michael Barker said.

“It presents a rare opportunity to harness the regional transport network to the task of creating better communities both north and south of the river.”

He wants the consultation to ensure the final bridge design won’t hamper creative planning for the district and to look at where the port is going so parameters such as growth rates and its eventual winding down are considered as part of the design process.

The campaigners also want studies into the social and environmental impacts of the existing road and rail network to get a definitive answer on when they’ll reach unbearable levels. 

They also want to look at ways of making the port more efficient so that an expensive second rail bridge would become redundant.

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