The Western Australian (WA) Government has revealed an improved design for a new bridge to replace the existing Fremantle Traffic Bridge in Perth.

The proposed bridge is set to be Australia’s first extradosed bridge, including cantilevers and cable support.

The Swan River Crossings project has been in its planning stage for several years, with various designs researched and developed based on feedback from community stakeholders since 2020.

Upon receiving these comments from the community, the then-final conceptual design was unveiled last year. However, the design, road layout, and alignment were reconsidered.

The replacement bridge will be constructed on the same alignment as the old timber bridge, with this construction approach utilised to minimise the time the bridge will be shut.

The bridge is scheduled to be closed for up to 12 months throughout the construction process.

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The updated plans involve expanding the current traffic bridge alignment, keeping two traffic lanes open in each direction, and maintaining existing junctions and traffic flows – linking Queen Victoria Street to the north and the current Canning Highway interchange to the south.

It will also include new, larger, and safer routes up to four metres wide on both sides of the new bridge to connect to existing walking and cycling trails; increase the safety of navigation for boats, kayaks, and other river users; reduce the effects on the existing limestone escarpment and landscape; and keep Beach Street as a local access road.

The affiliated authorities have submitted these designs for development approval. Subject to this approval, construction work is expected to begin in the second half of next year.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said: “The key outcome of the Swan River Crossings project has always been to create a safe crossing over the river – the existing bridge has a high level of corrosion and rot and must be replaced.

“Replacing the bridge in the same position as the existing Fremantle Traffic Bridge and maintaining the existing road layout reflects community and stakeholder desires for a smaller construction footprint with minimal impact to the southern escarpment and the existing Queen Victoria Street and Canning Highway intersections.”