The new design does not include the cladding covering the steel arches.

Design change for Swan River bridge

The state government has approved design alterations to the Swan River pedestrian bridge in an attempt to cut $4 million in construction costs, while also announcing further delays to the bridge’s opening date.


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Sounds like a bad compromise to me; looks nowhere near as good IMHO. Of course, it's a lot of money but this is meant to be a timeless piece of (functional) art on the Swan River. Now it looks (and is) half finished. Is this really correct? "The changes will elimination 275 tonnes of secondary steel from the 50 arch modules ... and noise caused by the cladding." That seems a lot. Is it excessive noise? I'm all for the original design.

I think simplicity and structural honesty is always preferable. Less cost, less maintenance, less weight are all positives. Vitruvius: firmitas (strength), utilitas (functionality), and venustas (beauty).

I was involved in the original tender of this project for a local steel fabricator when the steel was awarded overseas. The cost difference at the was around $2 million, but look at where the cost is now with all the delays. The cladding has not been deleted purely for capital cost and maintenance reasons, that's all smoke and mirrors to try to convince taxpayers they are getting a better deal. Someone has finally realised that the original complex fabric system would have taken until Christmas 2018 to install and get right. This is just to save the government the embarrassment of announcing several further rounds of delays down the track. We did a full-scale mock-up so that the cladding could be trialled and it was an incredibly time consuming process even on the ground with the use of standard access equipment, let alone having to do it at high level in windy conditions. That being said, the cladding was the right aesthetic choice and the entire concept of this bridge has (now) been totally lost. It now looks more like a Dreamworld rollercoaster than an elegant structure sitting unobtrusively on top of the water. If this design was presented in the first instance, there is no way it would have been approved. All of this is due to both the contractor and the government thinking that the most complex steel design, fabrication and construction project in Australia right now could be delivered from overseas, all for the sake of few million dollars. I'll also put a carton on it not being complete by May as I envisage there being some serious issues during installation.

Helena Valley
You have hit several nails right on their heads, Oliver. Well done. The next major hurdle for all stakeholders will be the safe erection of the arches. To date there is no evidence on site that the temporary works for these operations have even started. Is the contractor 100 per cent sure that his method is safe and sound ? Worth a thorough re-check by the government departments, I believe. Erecting the deck after the arches will also be a challenge, but should be vastly safer than the arches. The timeline for completion in May 2018, however, still seems exceedingly optimistic.

Helena Valley
Cutting corners at this late stage is probably not a good idea, especially just so save 5 or 6 per cent of the already blown budget. Surely this cost should be absorbed by the contractor and not by the people of WA. I'm also struggling to understand how deletion of the cladding plus 275 tonnes of steel will save only $4 million. Are these figures correct? The new design also lacks the elegance that the original design was supposed to bring to the precinct. Seems like this will be an idea that will be regretted almost immediately the bridge is finished.

The whole project delay was due to structural design-related issues, as the designers were not able to do it right. They wanted the 3D steel detailing model to make changes to members, connections etc. Coordination with other trades also took longer than expected. This project delay can be easily attributed to delays in designing.

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