A NEW Ashton Avenue bridge will keep the old cycle route along the Fremantle railway line into Claremont, with construction expected to be complete in September.
“The principal shared path from Perth to Fremantle is being reconstructed on the same alignment, with some improvements to the geometry and condition because it was formerly concrete and now it will be asphalt,” Main Roads project manager Brad Hutchinson said.
Main Roads is spending $8.4 million to replace a 100-year-old, 12-tonne limit timber bridge across the railway at the south-east corner of Claremont Showground.
A seven-month project will build a 20m-span steel and concrete bridge to last another 100 years for all standard vehicles and improve safety and traffic flow.
“We are also trialling a geopolymer concrete on the Ashton Avenue path, which is a sustainable product manufactured at low heat,” Mr Hutchinson said.
Since work started with up to 35 men in February, about 1900 cubic metres of dirt has been excavated and adjacent trees have had to be felled for the new bridge and bike path.
However, Main Roads plans to revegetate with more trees and there is a proposal for artwork on the concrete buttresses either side of the railway line.
The effects of winter storms and eroding rain have been included in the estimated completion date, which Main Roads says is still on-track.
So far, hammering in sheets of metal for piling behind the buttresses to support the bridge either side of the rail line has been the greatest challenge.
“It’s such a big area, but it’s been hard getting plant equipment in,” Mr Hutchinson said.
Look outs from the Perth Transport Authority warn the workers of approaching trains along the 200m-long worksite.
Once the buttressing walls have been built, beams will be lifted in and concrete poured over at night.
Closures of the rail line will be scheduled to create the road on which traffic will flow above the trains.
Mr Hutchinson said car drivers will see differences on the new bridge, which will be 50-100cm higher than its predecessor, and its adjacent Chancellor Road and Ashton Avenue intersections.
“They’ll be raised higher, there’ll be more drainage and they will get new pedestrian crossings as a feature,” he said.