Swan River Crossings, Fremantle
Planning and development continues on the Swan River Crossings Project, which will see the replacement of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge across the Swan River and construction of a new rail bridge.This project is one of the most complex and challenging projects ever undertaken by our team, involving road, passenger and freight rail, maritime, pedestrians and cyclists, heritage and environmental considerations. Once completed, the Swan River Crossings will consist of:
- a new traffic bridge
- a new rail bridge
- separated pedestrian and cyclist facilities
The project aims to deliver improved safety for road users, modern standard pedestrian and cycling facilities, increased rail efficiencies and improved river navigation whilst acknowledging the history of this place as a crossing point of the Swan River.
Swan River Fremantle, In River Geotechnical works
We are currently undertaking geotechnical investigations on both the east and west sides of the existing Fremantle Traffic Bridge.
Borehole drilling operations will be conducted from a jack-up barge, (pictured below) which will move about every 4 days to various locations in the river near the rail and traffic bridges. This drilling may cause some minimal ground vibration and low-level noise in the immediate surrounding area.
Works will be undertaken during daylight hours and will continue to the end of June 2021. We will seek to minimise disruption for all river users, and minimise operations during important events.
Navigational channels will remain open, however, Intermittent delays to navigation of one navigational channel at a time may be required to facilitate safe movement of work vessels.
Spotter vessels will be present during the barge movements and when the barge is in proximity of navigational channels. The spotter vessels will be clearly marked and monitoring VHF Channels 16 (emergency channel) and using VHF channel 9 as a working frequency for ship to ship communications. All vessels navigating through the bridges are encouraged to contact the spotter vessel prior to approaching the bridges.
Call Sign – Spotter Vessel 1 – upstream; Spotter Vessel 2 – downstream.
To mark the start of the in-river environmental and geotechnical surveys last December, the Swan River Crossings project development team and contractors took part in a smoking ceremony, conducted by Aboriginal Elders at the foot of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge.
Geotechnical investigations will be conducted in the river, along with surveys that will identify any vulnerable species and ecosystems and measure sediment, swell and current movements.
We continue to engage with Noongar Elders to understand the significant heritage and cultural context, including the stories of the crossing, so that we can ensure these are reflected in the bridge and landscape design elements of the project.
Recognising the significance of the crossing is also an important aspect of the project. To achieve this, we have engaged the architect and heritage consultants to guide the design and develop a heritage interpretation plan.
Extensive planning and development is well underway. This includes engagement with several state and local government agencies to determine what can be built and how it can be built to minimise disruption to motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, train services, boats and river users.
The project is being developed to align with State Planning Policy 7. Design of the Built Environment.
We are planning to replace the existing Fremantle Traffic Bridge, which was opened in 1939 as a temporary structure. The bridge's structure has been deteriorating over a number of years, and despite extensive strengthening and maintenance works (including a highly disruptive closure in 2016), the bridge needs to be replaced.
The bridge currently carries 23,000 vehicles a day and at peak times is congested. Learn more about the current condition of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge in our Fact Sheet.
An extensive community and stakeholder consultation program has been underway for the Swan River Crossings Project since August 2020. This will be ongoing throughout project development, design and delivery.
Previous planning and options for the Swan River Crossings focused on replacing the current Fremantle Traffic Bridge. However, in 2019 the State and Federal Governments allocated funding to develop a road and rail solution, addressing the constraints posed by the shared freight and passenger rail bridge.
The project will:
- Replace the deteriorating traffic bridge like for like - the Fremantle Traffic bridge is currently two lanes in each direction and the new traffic bridge will also be two lanes in each direction (but with a median in the middle to separate traffic in opposing directions and paved shoulders for improved safety).
- Build a bigger, better 6.5 metre wide path for pedestrians and cyclists to replace the current 2 metre path. Cyclists and pedestrians will be separated on the path.
- Build a new rail bridge dedicated to passenger rail. The current rail bridge will remain and service freight only. Providing a new passenger rail bridge will separate freight and rail passenger train lines, ensuring adequate freight rail capacity into the future. Read the PTA Rail Operational Capacity concerns here.
November Community Forum
Another community forum was held in November, which provided an opportunity to share and discuss the outcomes of the investigations into the bridge alignment options tabled at the previous forum in October. For details of the forum presentation, please see below.
- Swan River Crossings Alignment Forum #2 Presentation (PDF)
- Swan River Crossings Forum #2 Summary (PDF)
- Swan River Crossings Alignment Forum #2 - Response to Rail Capacity Concerns and Questions (PDF)
October Community ForumWe recently held a community forum, which provided an opportunity for us to share the Swan River Crossings project objectives and discuss the range of bridge alignments. For details and a summary from the forum and the alignment option maps please see below.
- Swan River Crossings Alignment Forum, 23 October 2020 Summary (PDF)
- Swan River Crossings forum alignment presentation (PDF)
- Previously considered alignment option maps for road and rail bridges (PDF)
Community online survey
We launched the MySay Transport online survey for the Swan River Crossings Project on 6 August 2020. The online survey recorded more than 3,800 visits to the project page and more than 300 people took part. The feedback gathered from the survey has been a key part in understanding stakeholder and community needs and expectations for the project. For outcomes of the survey please see below.
Community Drop-in SessionsDuring August and September, more than 130 people attended community drop in sessions to find out about the project and provide their feedback on a range of issues. More than 300 people also provided comments via our online survey. All this feedback is now being reviewed by the project team.
We had questions about new cycling facilities and how we plan to ensure the new bridge is safe for walkers. Others have asked exactly where the bridge will be located, what the new bridge will look like and requests to recognise the heritage of the crossing as an important entry into Fremantle.
We have already heard some great ideas including bringing the native wildflowers on Cantonment Hill down to feature along the foreshore or in the design of the bridge and reflecting the unique history of North Fremantle in an entry statement.
Other ideas include creating a boardwalk over the water and under the new bridge on the north shore, installing plants, shade and seating along the 6.5 metre bridge path and closing the new traffic bridge to cars once a month for events or for people to view and celebrate sailing regattas below.
We are continuing to meet and brief industry and community groups and local governments.
Along with our engineering and technical investigations, we’ll consider your feedback as we refine the preferred alignment and progress the design.
- 2020: Planning, development, stakeholder engagement and community consultation
- February 2021: Contract awarded. Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction, Arup Australia and WSP Australia together with Main Roads formed the Fremantle Bridges Alliance to guide the project into the next stages of alignment investigation, detailed design and construction.
- Late 2021: Begin construction subject to environmental and statutory approvals.
Construction and Project Updates
- Project Update - March 2021 - PDF (680 KB)
- Project Update - January 2021 - PDF (1 MB)
- Project Update - August 2020 - PDF (7 MB)
- Online Survey Outcomes Report - January 2021
- Fact Sheet - Fremantle Traffic Bridge Condition - PDF (735 KB)
- Forum - Previous Alignment Maps - October 2020 - PDF (4 MB)
- Forum Presentation - November 2021 - PDF (5 MB)
- Forum Presentation - October 2020 - PDF (4.21 MB)
- YouTube: Swan River Crossings in Fremantle
- Drop in session poster - Overview - PDF (13.7 MB)
- Drop in session poster - Heritage, stories and design - PDF (34.1 MB)
- Community feedback guides next stage of Swan River Crossings project - 2 February 2021
- Swan River Crossing reaches new milestone - 17 August 2020
- Community feedback sought on Fremantle Traffic Bridge replacement - 6 August 2020
The project is funded by the State ($115 million) and Commonwealth ($115 million) governments.
Improve road and freight connectivity
Increase path access for pedestrians and cyclists
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