On the 25th of March, access through the Swan River surrounding Matagarup Bridge has now been restricted, and is expected to remain so for the next eight weeks, as the final stages of construction begin. After this latest development the project now looks set to be completed in June despite the most recent estimates sighting completion in May. The bridge was originally delayed after the Malaysian steel manufacturer, Toyota Tsusho, had their contract terminated for being drastically behind schedule and showing no signs of ever being able to deliver the bridge components. Since, a Western Australian steel manufacturer, Civmec, has taken on the project creating 200 local jobs to mould the 1500 tonnes of steel into the 72 structural components required for the states next iconic display of architecture and design.
The Swan River Pedestrian Footbridge will stretch 370 metres long and cover a width of 9 metres with landscaped seating and decorative lighting strategically placed from start to finish. Peaking at a height of 65 metres tall, sitting 8 metres above the river the bridge also allows for 40 metres of water for vessels to navigate underneath. Connecting East Perth and the newly developed Burswood Peninsula, which houses Optus Stadium, Matagarup Bridge is expected to carry approximately 14,000 people during major events and provide year round access for local residence to community parks, playgrounds, picnic and barbecue areas, and a network of walking and cycling tracks.
Designed with the Swan River in mind, it’s footprint on the riverbeds has been minimised and it’s name, Matagarup, also recognises the cultural significance of the immediate Swan River area to the local Whadjuk community. The waves of black and white steel ribbon that form the bridge was designed to represent the coming together of the multicultural society of Perth.
It was previously planned for the winding steel structure of the bridge to be finished with highly durable black and white fabric however after advise from lead contractors the plan has been dismissed. Removing the fabric is estimated to significantly reduce the upfront cost of the project by approximately $4 million, and save an estimated $11 million in maintenance costs, while still maintaining the look and feel of the bridge arches. It will also improve it’s structural capacity by eliminating 275 tonnes of secondary steel and reducing wind load and noise created by the fabric. New opportunities have now been recognised as a result of this development, with enhanced lighting shows covering the steel structure and potential bridge climbs now a future possibility.
Despite all the controversy since starting construction in November 2015, from the cost increase from $54 million to $91.5 million and multiple delays on construction, the buzz surrounding Matagarup Bridge still remains. Just how the Swan River Footbridge will affect Perth, East Perth, Burswood and the surrounding areas still remains to be seen but the overall sentiment is overwhelmingly positive. Recent events at Optus Stadium such as Ed Sheehan concerts, Cricket games and the AFL has already had local businesses noticing a large increase in clientele, especially in the hospitality industry. As soon as the connection between the CBD and the Optus Stadium is complete, people will be able to park in the city, enjoy local food and drink, and walk over the footbridge to the Stadium with the option of enjoying Perth’s night life after. This will have a huge impact on the lifestyle of inner-city residence and is very likely to lead to an increase in interest in inner-city apartment living.
There has been an increase in genuine buyers interest in the Perth CBD and inner-suburb property market over the last 4 months. This trend along with recent reports of a surge in jobs advertised in Western Australia, following a rebound in commodity prices, as well as the state’s population growth being just shy of four-year highs, indicates that the property market may be beginning to turn. As the next few months pass and anticipation surrounding the completion of Matagarup Bridge builds, there will be a lot of eyes on how the property market behaves. Perhaps the Swan River Pedestrian Footbridge will be the catalyst that turns the inner-city Perth property market around.