A NEW bridge over the Ellen Brook in Ellenbrook-Upper Swan, was officially opened to the public on Friday.
City of Swan Mayor David Lucas said the new bridge on Railway Pde north of Apple St would help reduce congestion in the area and create an alternate access point during emergency situations such as bushfires.
Cr Lucas said the economic benefits of the bridge, primarily driven by travel time savings, were independently estimated at $45 million over a 30-year-period.
Pearce MHR Christian Porter said the bridge would provide an essential link between the fast-growing residential areas to the south of the Ellen Brook and increasing employment areas to the north.
“The opening of the bridge will improve community connections, making it easier for people to get around by reducing congestion and travel times and increasing road safety.’’
The construction of Ellen Brook bridge has been one of the city’s top priorities for some years but it has not been without controversy with the city failing to convince developers and residents of the need for the bridge and who would 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 money to build the bridge.
At the official opening on Friday, August 3 Cr Lucas said the bridge had taken eight months to complete and cost $6.1 million.
The city contributed $3m, which was matched by the federal government, while the Roads to Recovery infrastructure program put in $85,501.
By Anita McInnes