CONSTRUCTION of a new bridge over the Ellen Brook is expected to start by October and be finished about eight months later.
Building of the bridge, which the City of Swan said was estimated to cost $6.1 million, was originally expected to start earlier this year.
But in July last year the city said although it had approval to clear 3.5ha on Railway Pde road reserve in Ellenbrook and Upper Swan in preparation for the bridge it was still trying to secure funding.
This week Pearce MHR Christian Porter said the project would receive more than $3m from the federal government’s building better regions fund.
City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright said the rest of the project would be funded by developers and the city.
Mr Porter said the bridge would provide an essential link between fast-growing residential areas to the south of the Ellen Brook and increasing employment areas to the north.
Ellenbrook ward councillor Cate McCullough said the bridge would make a big difference to the community.
“It will provide the community with better access to surrounding roads and suburbs, improved travel times and help to reduce congestion in the area as well as create an alternate access point during emergency situations such as bushfires,” she said.
“The economic benefits of the bridge, primarily driven by travel time savings, are independently estimated at $45m during a 30-year period.”
Cr Wainwright said the project had been one of the city’s top priorities.
But the city has had a difficult time convincing developers and residents of the need for the bridge and who was going to pay for it.
In Row over new bridge, (Echo News, January 2014) developers argued the case had already been before the State Administrative Tribunal and then the Supreme Court on appeal.
LWP Property Group said the council had then advertised a developer contribution plan, which sought to circumvent the decision of the courts and was simply an alternate mechanism to require Ellenbrook Management to pay towards the bridge.
Then when the city decided to charge more than 15,000 residents with a specified area rate to help pay for the bridge two online petitions were soon set up calling for the decision to be reversed.
The State Administrative Tribunal quashed the specified area rate in November 2015 so the city had to go back to the drawing board.
In Ellen Brook bridge funding struggle, (Echo News, July 7, 2016) the city said it had applied to the national stronger regions fund for $3,687,500 so it could build the bridge.
Cr Wainwright expected the city to receive $3,061,201 from the building better regions fund by September.
By Anita McInnes