Old Congdon Street bridge could help build the new one

Architect Neil Cownie wants the old bridge for cyclists and walkers if a new vehicle bridge is built to its east in Swanbourne.  Picture: Jon Bassett.
Architect Neil Cownie wants the old bridge for cyclists and walkers if a new vehicle bridge is built to its east in Swanbourne. Picture: Jon Bassett.

ARCHITECT Neil Cownie proposes using newly linked ends of the old Congdon Street railway bridge for cyclists and walkers if its replacement for vehicles is built in Swanbourne in 2020.

“The key is keeping the heritage north and south ends of the old bridge and replacing the mid-section with a lighter crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, with any new bridge for vehicles behind it,” Mr Cownie said.

OPINION: Public opposition the bogey in new bridge plan

Main Roads wants the public’s preferred alignment from four unbudgeted designs replacing the 108-year-old wooden bridge its staff claims is “rotten”.

However, residents’ concerns about more traffic on streets, keeping the Swanbourne village atmosphere and not disrupting shops were sparked at an often argumentative public meeting at Claremont Football Club on October 23.

Other issues were any role for the new bridge role in extension of West Coast Highway into Cottesloe and why it was designed for 19m articulated trucks.

Mr Cownie said Main Roads had to say what type of vehicles the new bridge was to carry, and a less heavily engineered bridge could be built if traffic was kept to 30km/h.

He said a much-needed master plan could consider the bridge’s role in connecting Swanbourne, Cottesloe and Claremont, maintaining the adjacent shops and offices, and how it worked with a replacement Eric Street bridge in Cottesloe in 2022.

A Main Roads spokeswoman said any master plan done by councils for the new bridge’s alignment would be supported, and local traffic issues apparent during initial community consultation could be studied after confirmation of a preferred alignment.

She said the 19m vehicle was used for the options because those semi-trailers had unrestricted access to all WA roads, and the new bridge had no eventual role in any wider plans..

Public comment is at mainroads.wa.gov.au or at mysaytransport.wa.gov.au until Nov 9.