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Helena River Alliance outside Town Hall in support of a motion to stop works on the Lloyd Street Bridge until a concept plan can be approved by council.

Future of Lloyd Street Bridge in limbo

By Claire Ottaviano

THE City of Swan and the State Government are in a deadlock over the controversial request for a redesign of the Lloyd Street Bridge – just months away from construction.

All councillors, with the exception of the mayor, voted at last week’s council meeting to “take all necessary steps” to stop tree clearing and infill on the Helena River floodplain until a concept plan was supported by council.

But in a response to Echo News, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti hit back, saying if the City wanted a revised concept plan they would have to take over the project from Main Roads.

“If the council would like a complete redesign, I would be happy to hand back responsibility for this project to the City of Swan,” she said.

“I would seek to exclude the bridge from the current Great Eastern Highway Bypass contract, which would allow the City to go back to scratch, secure additional funding and go through the approval process.”

In a conflicting twist, Ms Saffioti said Swan City representatives met with her only weeks prior to ask the State to take ownership of the asset.

“The City, including the mayor, deputy mayor and chief executive officer, met with me on December 9 and asked me to provide an assurance that the State Government would take control of Lloyd Street into the future,” she said.

“I again obliged and sent a letter at their request stating we were prepared to take control and ownership of the road.”

Since then, the City has advised the State of council’s latest decision.

“The City has also advised of a further proposed motion that would seek the preparation of a new concept design for the bridge – this would delay the project,” Ms Saffioti said.

She said given environmental and heritage approvals already in place, and finite budget available, a total revamp of the bridge structure was not something the State was willing do.

While the State has made several claims of its environmental and heritage approvals, a December 2020 Aboriginal Heritage Survey report addendum has revealed Traditional Owners  opposed the project.

“[The Whadjuk Native Title Claim (NTC) group] believe building a bridge at this location is not in keeping with the significance of the site to the Whadjuk people and as such they recommend Main Roads do not proceed with this project and seek other solutions to managing traffic,” the report said.

“[An NTC member] advised the Whadjuk realised that Main Roads intended to proceed and seek consent under the Aboriginal Heritage Act so should consent be sought and granted, then the Whadjuk people recommended the preferred option was the steel bridge as this design had the widest distance between the abutments and had in their opinion the least affect upon the river’s flow.”

As a result of consultation, the bridge design was changed from a pier design to the current single-span design because it was culturally imperative the river’s flow was not blocked from its natural path.

At last week’s council meeting, Swan River Traditional Owner Vanessa Corunna spoke in support of the motion.

“In the spirit of reconciliation and in the spirit of healing the land…I ask for this project to stop,” she said.

“If my dad Albert Corunna was standing beside me today, he would say this is our moort, our family, our country, and we need to care for what we have left.”

See previous Lloyd Street Bridge concern, GEH Bypass project surges ahead, Lloyd Street Bridge rethink lost, Lloyd Street Bridge objectors continue against all odds

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6 comments

  1. Well, what an amazing series of cat and mouse changes as first we are told its Main Roads project, fully funded. Then buck passed back to Council, no its City of Swan’s bridge, they can have any design they want. Then swift buck-pass back to Minister Saffiotti who will take ownership and meet any funding shortfall. Now, back to the City of Swan, if any changes made they will have to find the funds.

    In my opinion, all wholly the outcome of a flawed consultation process and complete disregard for Traditional Owner heritage and the natural environment. This and possibly the wish to find a home for stockpiles of soil nearby is the reason for a bad design and under-budgetting. The Government has the funds, a better design may even deliver ‘more jobs’ than a poor design. Minister, let’s be proud of our aboriginal and natural heritage. Let’s be proud of Midland. Do it once, do it properly. Minister, isn’t that the basis of good government? Let’s have a good news story Minister.

  2. This project is not yet approved. Regardless of what Minister Safiotti suggests.

    Dept of Planning, Lands and Heritage have only recently referred the development application to other relevant government agencies for advice.

    The application is still being assessed and to my most recent knowledge DBCA and DPLH are continuing to work with Main Roads WA regarding the design of the bridge and “if approved” its eventual construction

    Sounds a long way from finalized, does anyone else smell something a bit fishy ?

  3. Hi Claire,

    Great story on the Lloyd St Bridge and the outcomes at council. However there is more to this story

    There are no approvals in place despite works being ready to proceed

    I have written to both the Swan River Trust and DWER pollution Watch regarding this project.

    This project has gotten way out ahead of itself. The letter indicates that the project is only at the Development Application stage and was only recently referred to the Swan River Trust. The bridge design is yet to be finalized and approved.

    MRWA also appear to be attempting to use state-wide clearing permit CPS 818/15 to clear the land. The permit is intended to fast track roadside vegetation clearing NOT clearing areas of Conservation Category Wetlands within the Swan River Trust Boundaries.

  4. The handling of the Lloyd Street bridge is fast turning into a fiasco and it is time for all parties to view the project with an open mind and the objective of getting the best outcome for all concerned.
    The City of Swan should retain authority over the bridge as it represents the community.
    Did Council agree to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and CEO’s approach to Minister Saffioti to take ownership of the asset? If so where is this minuted?
    Ownership by MRWA makes Lloyd Street a state main road
    Does the Midland community want more freight traffic through the centre?
    There is no junction planned for Eastlink and Lloyd Street but what if it were a state main road?
    The Minister and State Government is hellbent on so called “development” at all costs but opening up a South-North road through the centre of Midland may not be the development the community wants.
    A bypass in the form of Great Eastern Bypass and Roe Highway already exists and the traffic flow there will be further improved with the new interchange as part of the Greater Connect Alliance.
    The Alliance advised that the initial design, multi span pier bridge, was cheaper than the steel single span and embankment option now being proposed. Perhaps such a bridge but avoiding piers in the main waterway would be a compromise acceptable to heritage and environmental lobbyists if properly explained and time for consultation with their independent advisers given.
    Within 1.5km south of the proposed bridge are the main depots for the following:
    • CTI Logistics,
    • Tol,
    • Linfox,
    • Freightliner.
    • Centurian
    • Burnett Transport
    • Hansion,
    • Coca Cola Amatil
    • BGC,
    • Bunnings Depot
    Should there be a weight limit applied enabling commuter traffic (the community) to benefit without an increase in freight traffic?
    The consultation process to date has been poor with information on traffic modelling, bridge design, offsets etc being withheld and stakeholders pressurised into making on the spot decisions.
    Let’s take a breather and get this right.

  5. “Given the importance of this road to improve road safety and efficiency, including the movement of freight, …”
    So it IS seen as a truck route, to connect Great Northern Highway, thru’ to Abernethy Road, bisecting the town of Midland from Midvale & Middle Swan. Inevitably it will become a four-lane truck route, if this all proceeds.
    The Clayton St tilt-up city area is a traffic nightmare already; pulling hundreds of trucks thru’ there is only going to add to the chaos.
    Maybe it’s not just the foolishness of politicians, but even the bridge itself which is unnecessary ?

  6. We have been told this bridge will help move freight from the airpot precinct to Midland, but north of Great Eastern Highway there are only suburbs, not warehouses or industry. Looking at the list that S Ashby has made, I struggle to find any warehouses other than Bunnings that is north of the Helena River. So is delivery to one store the justification for a bridge?

    Also it is interesting to note that roundabouts at each end of the bridge are single lanes, yet the latest bridge design shows 4 lanes, 2 in each direction. This will surely make for some high drama as cars and big lorries preen for position before exiting the bridge.

    It seems that the more we learn of this “concept”, the more design there is to be accomplished before any real work should begin–that is if Council wants to get it right.

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