The WA Government has approved a new look for the Swan River Pedestrian Bridge, with the striking WA-made steel arches to become a feature of the design.
Design modifications mean the steel arch structure will no longer be covered by white and black fabric – a component that was added during the design process to make the arches appear solid.
The decision follows advice from lead contractor York Rizzani JV stating not having the fabric would retain the distinctive arch design while significantly reducing recurring costs and challenges associated with the ongoing maintenance of the bridge.
Omitting the fabric cladding will deliver approximately $4 million in savings on the construction cost and a further $11 million in anticipated maintenance costs over the first 40 years of the structure’s life.
Along with the aesthetic changes, the revised design will improve structural capacity by eliminating 275 tonnes of secondary steel from the 50 arch modules, while also reducing wind loading and noise caused by the fabric.
New opportunities such as enhanced lighting shows can now occur, while potential tourism activities such as bridge climbs will be investigated, which could provide an ongoing financial return to the State after an initial set-up cost.
The local fabrication is progressing well, despite external challenges associated with the late arrival of some steel from China.
Due to contractual requirements under the stadium contract that potentially exposed taxpayers to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs, an alternative laydown area was required.
To factor in these two challenges, the opening of the bridge is expected in May 2018.
This will not impact any of the scheduled events, following the State Government’s decision to not allow additional weeknight events to be scheduled before the middle of the year.