Construction in the river is about to commence on the Causeway Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridges project. These works will involve marine piling and out of hours works to facilitate ongoing deliveries of marine equipment, assembly of barge and crane components and dust management using a water cart at the McCallum Park site.
Piling of the southern channel (Victoria Park side of Heirisson Island)
- 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday from late November to late January 2024
- Marine works and landside construction activities
- Adhere to signage
Associated works at McCallum Park (Out of Hours)
- 7:30am to 5pm, every Sunday from 19th November to 17th December 2023
- Facilitating ongoing deliveries and dust mitigation
- Adhere to signage
Join our Online Webinar for River Users
Recreational and commercial river users are invited to an online webinar to hear about the marine construction methodology and its impacts on river users, with construction due to commence in the northern navigational channel in early 2024.
When: Tuesday 5 December 2023 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Register Here: Webinar Registration - Zoom
The design of the bridge resulted from consultation with key stakeholders including local governments, Traditional Owners, specialist groups, cycling and boating authorities and other government agencies, taking into consideration path user requirements, local developments on either side of the bridges, future maritime height allowances and the needs of existing river users.
Built as two bridges that connect over Heirisson Island, the s-shaped curves of the bridge’s design represents the sinuous movement of the Wagyl (rainbow serpent), while supporting the increased clearance heights above the river and minimising the number of trees impacted by construction.
Key to this design is minimising impacts to the sacred Swan River (Derbarl Yerrigan). The cable-stay design ensures less impact to the river, with only three permanent pylon required to support both bridges.
The location, approximately 90 metres downstream of the existing Causeway traffic bridge, was chosen as it minimises impacts on flora and fauna, while improving path user connections and amenity.
Integral to the design are references to prominent Whadjuk Noongar people, including: Yagan, a warrior and young leader, represented by a boomerang-inspired pylon, and Balbuk who fought to retain the Swan-Coastal Plain’s over-development and is represented by two digging stick-inspired pylons.
Two of the three pylons are inspired by the shape of wannas, or digging sticks. The wanna is a tool used for harvesting edible roots, particularly the yangeti, which grew around Matagarup and the wetlands and lakes. The wannas symbolise Balbuk, a woman who fought to maintain her rights to Country in the face of development.“When a house was built in the way, she broke its fence-palings with her wanna and charged up the steps and through the rooms…”
One of the three pylons is inspired by the shape of the dowak, the boomerang. This is a tool used for hunting game, and is thrown hard and low to the ground. The dowak symbolises Yagan, a strong, young Whadjuk warrior, who was one of the leaders in resisting colonisation from 1829, until he was killed in 1833.
During construction, the northern channel, which is used by recreational and commercial vessels, will remain open with spotter vessels escorting river users through the work zone to manage the flow of river traffic during construction. On occasion, this will involve the passage of river traffic being paused for a short time. The two spotter vessels will be located north and south of the work zone and all river users will be guided by the direction of a spotter vessel through the work zone. River users will be able to communicate with the spotter vessels via VHF 07.
Records from the Department of Transport for the past two years indicate an average of 25 vessels pass through this channel daily. The current speed limit of 5 knots will be maintained for river users in the northern channel during river works.
Construction on land will involve ground preparation, piling (setting deep foundations for bridge abutments) and earthworks for the bridge approach embankments.
In-river works will include piling, pile caps and constructing pylon structures. The two ‘lay down areas’ will be at the Point Fraser and McCallum Park foreshores near to where the bridge lands.
Works will be conducted to minimise any impact to community, foreshore park users and river vessels. Advanced notice of impacts will be provided on the project website and to those directly affected.
The bridges will be fabricated steel decks made from weathering steel, which provides a “rusty” appearance, with no painting required. Construction will start from McCallum Park, and work towards Heirisson Island, and then onto Point Fraser.
The first step will involve constructing a temporary loadout facility (jetty) from the Project’s McCallum Park site, which will be used to transport equipment and materials onto vessels and barges. Next, there will be piling in the river. Six piles are required for each of the three pylons (the two digging sticks and boomerang).
In addition, temporary piles will be installed as temporary supports for bridge structures. Next the bridge deck and pylons will be installed. The deck will be installed in 22 to 42m segments, which will be transported to the site by road from the Civmec workshop at Henderson. Each segment will be lifted into place by a crane. The final step will be to connect the cables to the bridge and pylons.
For the safety of the public and construction workers, an exclusion boundary will be in place across the southern channel for the duration of works. This is not a gazetted navigational channel and only power boats and water sports vessels are usually allowed access. We have been engaging extensively with the WA Water Sports Association regarding this closure.
Two cable stayed bridges will be constructed, approximately 90 metres downstream of the existing Causeway Bridge, comprising a six metre wide shared path, connecting Victoria Park foreshore, Heirisson Island and Perth’s CBD at Point Fraser. There will be dedicated rest points along the bridges, which are being built for path users, not vehicles.
The innovative design is being developed in consultation with key stakeholders including local governments, Traditional Owners and specialist groups, taking into consideration path user requirements, local developments on either side of the bridges, future maritime height allowances and the needs of river users. The design will reflect and embed Whadjuk Noongar culture, recognising the significance of Aboriginal heritage at Heirisson Island and the Swan River.
The scope includes the following:
- Ground preparation, earthworks and piling (setting deep foundations for pylons) for the bridge approach embankments
- In-river works, including piling, pile caps and constructing pylon structures
- Complete the design, based on the concept that was provided at the commencement of the procurement process
- Construction methodology will include local steel fabrication of the bridges
- The scope does not include the existing Causeway Bridge, which will remain in place for vehicles
In April 2022, a contract was awarded to Causeway Link Alliance, comprising Civmec Construction and Engineering Pty Ltd, Seymour Whyte Constructions Pty Ltd, WSP Australia Pty Ltd and Main Roads WA, to design and construct this iconic project.
Check out the video below for more information.
We recognise that this site holds strong cultural significance to Aboriginal people. We acknowledge the importance of ensuring the cultural heritage values of the area are respected, protected and celebrated. As such, we expect extensive, ongoing engagement with local Traditional Custodians and Noongar community members.
We hosted the inaugural Aboriginal Elders advisory group meeting in September 2021 and have held many further meetings to date. The group’s name, Matagarup Elders Group (MEG), was decided by its members and is symbolic of the project footprint on the Swan River near Heirisson Island, which Aboriginal people refer to as “matagarup”, meaning “a place where the river is only leg deep” (also known as “muddy knees”).
The MEG will provide valuable cultural input and inform the design of the bridges and the pathway. Traditionally, the site of this project had specific areas for “women’s” and “men’s” business, therefore the MEG consists of eighteen members, with equal male and female representation for each of the families recognised as having cultural connection to the area.
As part of the development of tender proposals, members of the MEG were involved in interactive workshops with the proponents to ensure their input to design was captured meaningfully and appropriately.
By acknowledging the deep cultural significance and connection to the land, and involving Matagarup Elders throughout the planning, design and construction of this project, we strive to ensure that together, we will deliver an iconic, culturally-sensitive legacy project that all stakeholders and community members can connect to with a sense of shared ownership and immense satisfaction.
We acknowledge that the Swan River and Heirisson Island are very significant to the Traditional Custodians of the area and the wider Perth community.
Whilst the bridges and connecting path alignment has been designed to minimise the impacts and removal of trees, some vegetation clearing will be required on Heirisson Island and at Point Fraser. These clearing works will commence in early 2023.
We will be using bridge construction techniques that minimise impacts on the surrounding environment, including the marine, bird and land animals. The kangaroos that currently live on Heirisson Island will remain.
A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) that defines the minimum management requirements during construction will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders and once all environmental surveys are complete.
During development of the concept design in 2019, the Department of Transport led engagement with key stakeholders including Traditional Custodians, local governments, relevant government agencies, service providers, specialist groups and river operators.
Extensive engagement with local Traditional Custodians and Whadjuk Noongar community members included the design and alignment (location) of the bridges.
We have continued this consultation with all key stakeholders, including local businesses, to gain valuable input during the design process.
We want to hear from you
We value your feedback - The Causeway Link Alliance invites all stakeholders and community members to complete a survey to let us know how effective our communications are and how we can best communicate with you on this project. The survey should take no more than five minutes.
Opportunities to participate in consultation activities will be offered to stakeholders and project subscribers. Subscribe for project updates and be the first to know when consultation opportunities are available.
- Project Update - October 2023 - PDF (884 KB)
- Project Update - June 2023 - PDF - (916 KB)
- Project Update - April 2023 - PDF (363 KB)
- Construction Update - March 2023 - Heirisson Island - PDF (503 KB)
- Project Update - February 2023 - PDF (865 KB)
- Project Update - December 2022 - PDF (305 KB)
- Environment Fact Sheet - April 23 - PDF (705 KB)
- Aboriginal Culture and Heritage Fact Sheet - PDF (1.56 MB)
- Perth’s $100m Causeway pedestrian/cyclist bridges project wins Cycling Luminaries Award in Canberra - WestCycle - 17 November 2023
- Joint media statement - Construction starts on new gateway to city - 1 March 2023
- Major boost for the Perth City Deal - 17 March 2022
- Proponents shortlisted for iconic new Swan River Causeway Bridge - 28 April 2021
- Expressions of interest now open to build iconic new Causeway Bridge - 29 January 2021
- New Swan River bridge to be built as part of WA Recovery - 26 August 2020
- Building for Tomorrow program a key feature of economic recovery - 23 August 2020
This project is funded as part of the Perth City Deal, jointly funded by the Australian ($50 million) and Western Australian ($50 million) governments.
How are the impacts on the Swan River being managed during river works?
The Causeway Link Alliance is managing the works on behalf of Main Roads and has developed a Vessel Management Plan to ensure vessels and other marine operations, are operated without compromising the safety of river users, the Project’s workforce, nearby structures or adversely impacting the marine environment.
There are several management controls that will be implemented to minimise potential impacts to aquatic fauna during construction. These include underwater noise and vibration monitoring and the engagement of Marine Mammal Observers during all in-river works. This will ensure that no potentially harmful activities (such as pile driving) are undertaken if fauna is present within the designated exclusion areas.
Other controls include the implementation of a Vessel Management Plan to manage the interface with other river users and a robust water quality program to monitor the health of the river during construction and determine if there are any impacts on the ecology.
How will you be protecting the kangaroos on Heirisson Island during construction?
The Western Grey Kangaroos that live within the fenced off area on the most western side of Heirisson Island will not be impacted by the works and will remain there during construction. Noise and vibration monitoring has commenced and will be in place on Heirisson Island during construction to ensure the kangaroos inhabiting the area are not adversely affected. A vet will be available to assess the kangaroos regularly throughout the works.
What is the duration of the river works?
Works will start in the river, in the southern channel, in November 2023 and are anticipated to be completed in both channels in Spring 2024.
Works will commence in the northern navigation channel in early 2024. Therefore, there will be no impact on commercial and recreational river users prior to 2024.
Works will be undertaken across all seasons however seasonal variations will be monitored and managed including river flows and tidal variance, to mitigate disruption to construction machinery and the passage of river users through the northern navigation channel.
Some construction activities are weather-dependent and therefore the exact timing of specific construction activities may change.
Will river users be able to pass through the northern navigation channel outside of construction hours?
Yes. Whilst working at night is not expected, there is a requirement for safety and navigational lighting to enable the safe passage of vessels through the work zone outside of standard working hours.
During construction shutdowns, such as the Christmas period, construction vessels will be moored near the McCallum Park site in the southern channel or off-site, and the northern navigation channel will be clear for vessels to pass through.
What are the hours of operation for work activities in the river?
Works will be undertaken during daylight hours Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm. At times there may be requirements for out of hours work on Sundays and at night. All out of hours work requires Local Government approval and advance notice will be provided to river users.
Working at night is not expected, however in breakdown or emergency situations working during hours of darkness may be required. Lighting of barges and work vessels will be in accordance with Prevention of Collision at Sea Regulations.
Will access to permanent moorings in the vicinity of the river works be maintained?
Yes, access to the following moorings will be maintained:
- On The Point (306 Riverside Drive East Perth) reserved for private commercial operators.
- The operations of the DBCA Victoria Park Operations Centre
- Trinity College Boat Ramps.
What marine equipment will be used during the works?
There will be multiple work boats, two spotter vessels (to assist river users in navigating safe passage) and up to two barges will be in the water at one time. The main barges consist of:
- A crane barge with a 400-tonne crawler crane. This barge will be 48m long and 24m wide – almost the size of an Olympic swimming pool!
- A Jack-up barge (JUB), which is used to hold piles so they are not affected by marine-based influences (e.g. river currents and sea state).
Will the new bridges be high enough to allow boats to pass underneath?
The bridges have been designed to cater for navigational clearance and future sea level rises. The new bridge on the Point Fraser side will have 6.2 metres of navigational clearance, while the new bridge on the McCallum Park side will have 5.1 metres of navigational clearance, allowing for smooth passage of marine vessels.
Why is the bridge curved and not straight?
The bridge design is curved to minimise the impact on existing trees, to assist in accommodating the height requirements of the navigation channel and to slow down cyclists traveling downhill when approaching key intersection points.
The design has been extensively workshopped with key stakeholders, and the State Design Review Panel supports the elegant, curved form of the bridge structures, which blend into the natural environment.
Are you doing anything with Yagan’s statue on Heirisson Island?
The MEG have requested that Yagan’s statue, currently located on the southern end of Heirisson Island, be relocated to a more prominent position within the vicinity of the new pedestrian and cyclist bridges.
The statue holds great symbolism and value to the Noongar community; not only for what Yagan stood for as a person, but also because of the recent history, where a repatriation mission was successful in the return of Yagan’s head from the British government in 1997, where it had been since 1833. We are investigating options to relocate Yagan’s statue to a more prominent location within the project area.
How will the bridges improve access to Heirisson Island?
The new bridges will cross Heirisson Island, providing an opportunity to highlight the important role the Island had in Perth’s Noongar heritage. This project will provide improved connection for both pedestrians and cyclists to the river and foreshore area on the island, while enhancing the natural environment through landscaping and showcasing Whadjuk Noongar heritage. It is anticipated that this will result in activation of the island, welcoming visitors and locals alike.
What will happen to the path on the existing Causeway traffic bridge?
The existing Causeway traffic bridge is heritage listed and will not be modified as part of this project. The current path will remain and path users will continue to have access, both during construction and once the new bridges are open.