New Ashton Road bridge opens under budget ahead of Royal Show in Claremont

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Main Roads director of metropolitan operations Peter Sewell tour the new Ashton Road bridge before it opens tomorrow. Picture: Jon Bassett
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and Main Roads director of metropolitan operations Peter Sewell tour the new Ashton Road bridge before it opens tomorrow. Picture: Jon Bassett

THE $11 million new Ashton Road bridge over the Fremantle railway line is open to traffic, pedestrians and cyclists in Claremont tomorrow.

“It came in slightly under budget, about $500,000 to $600,000,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said.

It took seven months to build the bridge after demolition of the previous Edwardian-era wooden crossing in Main Roads’ program of replacing outdated infrastructure.

The new bridge is wider, has a lane for traffic turning right into Gugeri Street, paths on both sides, a 5m-wide cycling path, higher pedestrian barriers and a cyclists’ off-ramp.

About 1200 plants and 30 trees will landscape the site, after lane markings are painted on its road today.

However, construction stopped through-traffic to nearby Ashton Avenue shops, causing many operators to cut back in hours and staff to survive.

There is a fear a similar impact on local shops will occur if the old bridge over the line is replaced in plans at Congdon Street, Swanbourne in the future.

Mrs Saffioti said there was “still a long way to go” before that bridge was replaced, but nearby traders should get involved in community consultation starting soon for the unfunded project.

Pressure to replace ageing wood bridges on the line has grown with Perth’s expansion, including a push last week by Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson for a new Fremantle traffic bridge so passenger and container trains can cross the Swan River at the same time.

Mrs Saffioti said the State Government would submit a case for that bridge’s replacement to Infrastructure Australia in the next two weeks, but there was great demand for Canberra to support projects across the nation.

Responding to recent Cottesloe residents’ concerns, Main Roads director of metropolitan operations Peter Sewell said replacement of the Congdon Street bridge was a priority ahead of any “early planning” for a new Eric Street bridge in that suburb.