Nepean River Bridge

The NSW Government is planning to build a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge spanning the Nepean River between Penrith and Emu Plains.

Nepean River Bridge

Updates and announcements

The NSW Government is building a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the Nepean River to connect Penrith and Emu Plains. The new bridge will provide a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists over the Nepean River and improve connections to existing and future shared paths, including the Great River Walk.

Construction work to build the bridge started in mid 2016 and is expected to take about two years to complete, weather permitting.

Construction is progressing and the following key activities have been completed:

  • Relocating overhead power and telecommunication lines
  • Partially constructing the abutment on the eastern bank including piling and concrete works
  • Constructing temporary rock platform and sheet piling on the western bank for pier construction
  • Carrying out earth work on the western bank and along Punt Road.

In the first half of 2017, Roads and Maritime Services will carry out abutment and piers construction on the western bank and temporary pier construction in the river, which includes piling work, construct a temporary workshop facility on the eastern bank and complete the eastern bank abutment.

Changes during detailed design of the bridge

The original concept design considered a curved design, however during the detailed design phase, it was revised to incorporate a straight triangular truss with a gentle vertical curve. The straight truss bridge option will still provide a large span, generous width and unique structure that will be an attractive landmark for the area.
The straight option will provide:

  • A more efficient structural design which reduces the amount of steel needed by 20 per cent
  • An easier fabrication process, with less welding and more similar pieces of steel
  • A simplified construction methodology that will reduce bridge self-weight loads
  • Reduced risks during construction of the bridge
  • Reduced carbon footprint, by using less steel and energy during construction.

The estimated cost of the bridge construction is $49 million. This estimate has increased from the original estimate during the preliminary concept design, due to the complex nature of the long span structure and construction methodology, as well as the relocation of overhead high voltage electrical lines crossing the river. However, the straight truss bridge option has helped to keep the overall cost down when compared to the original curved design.

Project background

Community members campaigned for a safer crossing over the Nepean River for pedestrians and cyclists as the current path on Victoria Bridge has no barrier between the narrow footpath and road traffic. During the strategic stage and concept development, a clip on shared path as well as a stand-alone pedestrian and cyclist bridge directly next to Victoria Bridge on the southern side were investigated. A structural feasibility study was completed in 2010, which determined the Victoria Bridge would not have sufficient structural capacity to accommodate a clip on shared path structure. An adjoining bridge next to Victoria Bridge would adversely affect flooding and impact on the heritage structure.

The final location of the bridge was pushed further south away from Victoria Bridge to avoid hazards and other local constraints. These included heritage, access to and around property and the submarine high pressure gas mains on the southern side of the bridge which supplies Blue Mountains residents with gas.

In mid 2012 a number of community information sessions were held to assess the best location for a new crossing of the river. Six crossing locations were ranked against key criteria identified during the community consultation workshops including safety, function, cost and community.

The location south of Victoria Bridge was considered the safest and most appropriate. The preferred bridge design and location was chosen following extensive community consultation, as it best addressed environmental, engineering and community constraints.

The project was approved in November 2014, and in December 2014 Roads and Maritime started early site preparation work which involved the demolition of the remaining derelict building on the Log Cabin site at Memorial Avenue, Penrith.

The detailed design of the bridge and invitation of construction tenders to build the bridge was carried in 2015 and early 2016. Roads and Maritime has contracted Seymour Whyte Constructions Pty Ltd to build the bridge in May 2016.

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