Our Fremantle Bridges Alliance to deliver sustainable transport solution with new Swan River crossings

Trish Sunga Trish Sunga Australasia Press Office,Sydney
4 February 2021

An experienced alliance of Arup, Laing O’Rourke and WSP will start work this year with Main Roads Western Australia on new bridges across the Swan River, improving travel to the scenic port city of Fremantle.  

Working together as the Fremantle Bridges Alliance, the partners will develop, design and construct the replacement road bridge and the new rail bridge catering for public transport, active transport, freight rail and vehicle traffic. 

Fremantle traffic bridge over the Swan River Perth Fremantle traffic bridge over the Swan River Perth
The ageing Fremantle traffic bridge will be replaced as part of the Swan River Crossings Project

With Fremantle some 20km southwest of the Perth CBD, there is constant movement between the two cities by commuters and visitors. The ageing and deteriorating Fremantle traffic bridge carries at least 24,000 vehicles a day and is congested at peak times. Passenger and freight connectivity is also constrained because there is only a shared rail line.

Main Roads WA described the Swan River Crossings Project as “one of the most complex and challenging projects” it has ever undertaken, “involving road, passenger and freight rail, maritime, pedestrians and cyclists, heritage and environmental considerations”.

The Fremantle Bridges Alliance will:

  • replace the existing Fremantle traffic bridge

  • construct a new rail bridge over the Swan River to improve passenger rail services 

  • modify the existing Fremantle rail bridge and rail bridges over Tydeman Road thereby increasing freight rail capacity, efficiency and productivity 

  • provide a new dedicated pedestrian and cycling path over the Swan River and to North Fremantle Station 

  • improve river navigation

  • improve amenity and sense of place, and

  • maximise sustainability through economic, social and environmental responsibility. 

The Alliance combines heavy rail, bridge, marine and road capabilities, and has a proven record of working in live urban railway, port and road environments with high commuter volumes, busy commercial activities, complex utility solutions and multiple stakeholders.

Dr Julia Summers led Arup’s WA Infrastructure team, working with Main Roads and WSP during the planning and development phase of the project and participated in the community consultation program.

“Arup will bring its collective experience to the next phase of the project,” Julia said.

“We will continue the alignment options investigations, with our final designs evolving in consultation with the community and stakeholders, and integrate our indigenous and non-indigenous heritage and culture.”

This project will help shape Fremantle, bring communities together and deliver shared value for West Australians well into the future. ”

Julia Summers Dr Julia Summers Project Director

Joe Strydom, Arup’s WA Infrastructure leader said the team was committed to embedding sustainability principles and solutions in the design and construction of the new Fremantle rail and road bridges project. 

The project is aspiring to achieve Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) ratings at the Planning, Design and As Built phases. The sustainable principles focus on environmental, social, economic and cultural considerations.

We believe we can achieve improved travel safety, accessibility and reliability - as well as amenity - while delivering sustainably through the project lifecycle. ”

Joe Strydom Joe Strydom Infrastructure Leader, Western Australia

“As a local team, we are also well aware of the economic significance of the Swan River Crossings and our planning will be particularly mindful of minimising disruptions wherever possible to the ongoing road, river and rail operations during construction,” Joe said.  

The project is jointly funded by the Australian and Western Australian Governments, with each contributing $115 million. Construction of the bridge is anticipated to start in late 2021 and will take approximately two years to complete.