The steel arches on Perth’s Swan River Pedestrian Bridge will no longer be covered by white and black fabric cladding, helping to minimise maintenance costs and make the arches a more prominent feature.
According to a statement from the Western Australian Government, the decision to alter the design follows advice from lead contractor York Rizzani JV stating not having the fabric would retain the distinctive arch design while significantly reducing recurring costs and challenges associated with the ongoing maintenance of the bridge.
Omitting the fabric cladding will deliver approximately $4 million in savings on the construction cost and a further $11 million in anticipated maintenance costs over the first 40 years of the structure’s life.
Along with the aesthetic changes, the revised design will improve structural capacity by eliminating 275 tonnes of secondary steel from the 50 arch modules, while also reducing wind loading and noise caused by the fabric.
“This bridge was never designed or chosen based on its simplicity – it is a work of art, however this decision will improve its structural capacity and expose the impressive functional elements, built locally, of the design,” said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti in the statement.
“By removing the fabric covering or membrane, we make an immediate saving on construction and many millions of dollars in reduced maintenance in coming years.
New opportunities such as enhanced lighting shows can now occur, while potential tourism activities such as bridge climbs will be investigated, which could provide an ongoing financial return to the State after an initial set-up cost.
The statement read that the local fabrication is progressing well, despite external challenges associated with the late arrival of some steel from China.
Due to contractual requirements under the stadium contract that potentially exposed taxpayers to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs, an alternative laydown area was required.
To factor in these two challenges, the opening of the bridge is expected in May 2018.