By Claire Ottaviano
A NEWLY formed coalition of environmental and ratepayer groups is pushing for a redesign of the Lloyd Street Bridge for fear current plans would detrimentally impact the Helena River floodplain.
The Lloyd Street extension, from Midland across the Helena River to the Great Eastern Highway Bypass, forms part of the Great Eastern Highway Bypass Interchanges project, currently open for public consultation.
According to Main Roads WA (MRWA), the proposed steel girder bridge’s 57m span was designed to cater for one in 100 year storm events.
While plans state the ‘batter’ design would enhance water flow, eight local groups, including the Blackadder Woodbridge and Helena River catchment groups, Midland Association, Friends of Woodbridge Bushland, Lower Helena Association, Guildford Association and Woodbridge Ratepayers Association, disagree and want to see a pier design implemented over a batter design.
“The fact is there are other options and have some of those other options been considered and discussed?” Friends of Woodbridge Bushland chairwoman Lynn Deering said
“No other bridges of this design are used in the Helena floodplain which shows you it is inappropriate.”
About 100 flooded gums (Eucalyptus rudis) and other tree species will need to be removed to build the bridge but MRWA plans state the bridge embankments would be revegetated and about 30,000 trees planted within 4ha to compensate for the loss.
Guildford Association president Barbara Dundas said current plans did not show the full extent of the design or its environmental impacts.
“[The batter design] has huge implications at times of flood,” Guildford Association president Barbara Dundas said.
“Particularly at times of flood you have water coming down and it meets this blockage in the river.
“The whole concept of blocking rivers is contrary to government policy, it’s inconsistent with City of Swan and government policies that apply elsewhere in WA.
“We are not against the bridge, the concern is the design and the impact on the floodplain.”
The area where the Lloyd Street bridge is being constructed is also a site of cultural significance.
“Consultation with representatives of the Whadjuk Native Title Claim group will be ongoing throughout development, design and construction to ensure areas that are significant to the Whadjuk people are protected,” MRWA plans state.
“Throughout clearing works Whadjuk Noongar representatives will be present on site to monitor the works to observe ground disturbing activities.”
Construction of the Lloyd Street Bridge is expected to start early 2023 and finish later that year.
Public consultation on the design closes October 11.
Find it at www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au