Green bridge proposed for Yanchep rail extension

A concept design for a green bridge over rail tracks.
A concept design for a green bridge over rail tracks.

A GREEN bridge could be built over the Yanchep rail extension to help wildlife safely cross the tracks.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released the Public Transport Authority’s (PTA) proposal as part of its environmental assessment of the Metronet project.

The EPA gave conditional approval for the first part of the rail extension, from Butler to Eglinton, in early May, and invited feedback on the second part, from Eglinton to Yanchep, until July.

It received 13 public submissions, including five from individual submitters and three from government agencies.

The other five came from The Wilderness Society WA, Wildflower Society of WA, Sustainable Population Australia (WA), Urban Bushland Council WA and Quinns Rocks Environmental Group

In response to concerns raised about the impact on native fauna, PTA changed its mitigation strategy to include installation of two adjacent 30m-wide sections of rail tunnel to create green bridges in Eglinton.

The final alignment of the 7.2km rail extension from Eglinton to Yanchep.

The proposed rail line will cut through Ningana Bushland, clearing 28.82ha of Bush Forever with potential impacts on native vegetation that includes black cockatoo habitat, potential western quoll habitat and four priority listed flora species.

It would also have an impact on a threatened ecological community of melaleuca shrubland and several priority ecological communities, including banksia woodlands, northern spearwood shrublands and tuart woodlands.

“The green bridges will provide a passage for fauna movement over the railway and reduce the potential impacts from fragmentation,” the PTA report said.

“Green bridge usage in Australia is in its infancy, and this green bridge proposal will be one of the first known to be installed over a passenger railway in Australia.

“The combined 60m width of the two crossings will be the largest of its kind in known in WA.”

PTA is also developing a draft offsets strategy that would provide funding to manage threats to the entire 640.8ha Ningana Bushland.

It planned to continue consulting with the EPA, on advice from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, to achieve a design outcome that was practical, effective and provided “value for money”.

The EPA is still assessing the overall development envelope for the rail line from Eglinton to Yanchep, which covers 73ha.

Visit epa.wa.gov.au for more information.

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