Back Creek footbridge replacement
South West Rocks

Background

The existing Back Creek footbridge was constructed in 1980 to replace the previous bridge at this location.

The bridge is a unique asset within the Back Creek precinct at South West Rocks, providing for a range of community recreational activities including pedestrian access to the northern side of the estuary.

There are several issues associated with the ongoing management and increasing level of maintenance required for the ageing pedestrian bridge asset. These include ensuring public safety for all recreation activities and management of environmental issues associated with the effective operation of the treated effluent pipe attached to the bridge.

Bridge condition

In early January 2019, Council became aware that a timber component supporting the treated effluent pipeline on the footbridge had detached.

The footbridge was closed to the public and repairs were undertaken to install temporary timber supports for the pipeline.

A detailed inspection of the footbridge by specialist engineers revealed that many components were in poor condition and a decision was made to close the bridge pending further investigations.

Council decision

A report went to the February meeting of Council outlining four bridge repair options and costings, from short-term remedial works to replacement of the bridge.

Council resolved to build a new footbridge rather than undertake interim maintenance works which it was estimated would be significant.

The replacement of the footbridge will occur as soon as practicable and necessary additional funds will be included in Council’s 2010-20 Operating Plan.

Project update

Preliminary designs for a new footbridge have been prepared based on maintaining the form of the existing structure to preserve its heritage significance.

A range of environmental investigative approvals that are necessary for bridge construction within a sensitive estuarine environment have also commenced.

Project complexity

The Back Creek footbridge replacement is a large project requiring significant planning, environmental investigation and project scheduling that will likely result in a lengthier than usual construction timeframe.

Unlike other smaller bridge projects in an estuarine environment, Council is required to maintain the open section of the existing bridge structure in a functional capacity while constructing the new bridge.

This will involve connecting the new footbridge to the existing fishing platform and removing and disposing of the old bridge structure.

In addition, construction in an aquatic environment means that work will be dependent on tidal influence.

Construction timeframe

A range of approvals and pre-construction documentation are currently being prepared for the replacement footbridge.

Quotations for the construction of piling and the bridge superstructure will be sought within the next two months.

It is likely that construction will commence mid-year and be complete by early December 2019.

Further information