The City of Fremantle is concerned the issues most important to local residents are not up for discussion in the just-launched consultation process for the new Fremantle traffic bridge.
Most notably, the alignment for the Swan River crossing has already been confirmed by Main Roads. And while elements of the bridge design remain subject to consultation, Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was disappointed there were not more options on the table.
“Our expectations of this process were that there would be genuine consultation over alignment options with Council wanting Main Roads to propose more than just one.
“Unfortunately the bridge plans released today appears not to meet the Fremantle Council – and I expect, community view – that there be at least two distinctly different alignment options presented in full for community and Council consideration.
“We are concerned that the proposed eastern alignment may result in a poor outcome for North Fremantle residents, for those cycling and walking, for heritage, and for creating an inviting place for people not just cars.”
At a meeting in June, Fremantle Council voted to request that Main Roads commence community engagement on the new bridge as soon as possible, and that the engagement process include a full and transparent evaluation of at least two different design options and bridge alignments.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced today a community survey had been launched on the Main Roads WA engagement platform and a series of community meetings to provide local input into design elements for the project would be held over the coming weeks.
The state and federal governments committed matching funding to the $230 million project last year, while earlier this year the new bridge was included on a list of projects to be fast tracked as part of the state government’s COVID-19 economic recovery measures.
Mayor Pettitt said community input on the design of the new bridge and how it connected with the surrounding area was an essential part of the project.
“We see this project as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only provide better road and rail crossings over the river but also create better paths for cyclists and pedestrians and improve the connectivity between North Fremantle, the river foreshores, Cantonment Hill and Victoria Quay.
“We will continue to work with state government to try and get the best possible outcomes for our community and we encourage local residents to have their say.”
Council in June also adopted a number of design principles in relation to the project including:
o The bridge should demonstrate excellence in design and create a memorable gateway experience.
o The public realm resulting from the project is safe, attractive, connected and inviting.
o The character of the North Fremantle townsite is protected from additional traffic impacts and extended towards the river.
o The project should deliver uninterrupted connectivity of the PSP cycle path to Fremantle and North Fremantle rail stations.
o A significant portion of the existing heritage-listed Fremantle Traffic Bridge is preserved, especially at the southern end, and able to be used and activated.
o The significance of the location to Traditional Owners is clearly understood, respected and interpreted in the design.
The Swan River Crossings project involves the replacement of the deteriorated Fremantle Traffic Bridge with a new solution that considers future needs for road, rail, walking, cycling and boating.
The City of Fremantle encourages all who are impacted by or interested to take part in Main Roads’ engagement opportunities during their consultation period.
The community survey is open for contributions from 6 August to 20 September 2020 at www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/swan-river-crossings.
Main Roads is also holding community drop-in sessions on Monday 17 August, Saturday 29 August and Wednesday 2 September. Register to attend at www.mainroads.wa.gov.au.