Nov 18 2021, by Fleetwood Urban

Every structure has a story

7 of our favourite bridge and boardwalk projects from the past decade – and why we love them.

What do you see when you look at a bridge? Concrete and steel? Pylons and cables? Or a safer and better-connected community?

Believe it or not, Fleetwood has delivered more than 150 bridges and boardwalks since we first opened our doors. In the last two years alone, the number is over 35 – and there are already plenty more in the pipeline for 2022!

While some have been far simpler to deliver than others, every bridge has its own unique story. We’ve been asking around the Fleetwood workshop and offices lately to see which ones have stood out most for our own team, and why. Here’s a little taste of what they told us…

(If you’d like to know more about these brilliant bridges, simply click on the headings).

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Narrabeen Lagoon (Stage 2)

Completed 2015

“It’s a beautiful and popular part of the world. But the lagoon’s terrain was super challenging to work in. It took a lot of hard work and innovation to deliver these fantastic bridges.”

About the project: Narrabeen Lagoon is the largest coastal lagoon in Sydney, enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors every day. Stage 1 of the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail was completed in 2011 (which Fleetwood also worked on). Stage 2 was the missing link that finally allowed complete circumnavigation of the lagoon. It was a complex project, requiring the construction of two large pedestrian bridges in an area with limited access – while also preserving the area’s fragile riparian zone. Fleetwood collaborated with Warringah Council (now Northern Beaches Council) and landscape architects, Thompson Berrill Landscape Design, delivering a new 52-metre span bridge across Middle Creek and a 34-metre span bridge across South Creek.

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Little Bay Cove

Completed 2013

“They’re some of the most striking access structures we’ve ever created – and we delivered them in one of Sydney’s most sensitive coastal locations, culturally and ecologically.”

About the project: Nestled on Sydney’s southern coastline, Little Bay is home to the area’s last remaining deposits of Miocene clay and ochre, a sacred ceremonial clay used for centuries by the local Indigenous community. To protect this historically sensitive site for decades to come, we worked with the team at McGregor Coxall to design, plan, construct and install three critical new pieces of new pedestrian infrastructure for the project owner, CIP. This included a staircase, weir bridge and serpentine boardwalk – all created to deliver maximum convenience for visitors, with minimal ecological footprint.

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Hinchinbrook Creek

Completed 2012

“It’s a great blend of old and new, combining 21st Century engineering with rustic materials. A modern 30-metre bridge that also captures the wonderful heritage of the community’s original Homestead.”

About the project: The residential community at Elizabeth Hills in Sydney’s west is filled with gentle slopes, meandering creeks and open grassed woodlands. It also has a rich rustic heritage which developer Mirvac was very keen to reflect in the expansive masterplan. We were engaged to deliver a number of Access and Shade elements. This included a large multi-span pedestrian bridge over Hinchinbrook Creek which we customised in collaboration with landscape architects, Sturt Noble Associates, using a hardwood timber variation of our Balmoral™ system. We also worked on the design and construction of three new public boardwalks.

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Stonehill Estate

Completed 2012

“It mightn’t sound glamorous. But finding an elegant way to combine a pedestrian bridge with a critical piece of sewerage infrastructure was a tremendous achievement.”

About the project: Located at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, the Stonehill Estate community was divided by a large gorge formed by the Werribee River. At 60 metres wide and more than 18 metres deep, it was a significant natural barrier and posed very real safety concerns for local pedestrians and cyclists. It also presented major logistical challenges for the installation of a much-needed new sewerage main. Together with the landscape architects at Stonehill Estate, Spiire, we took the opportunity to solve two problems with one solution using an adaptation of our Stirling™ cable-stayed bridge. The result was a shared cycle crossing that also discretely carried the new sewer line, providing both practical amenity and attractive community infrastructure.

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Smalls Creek White Gum

Completed 2016

“It isn’t easy to deliver such a great-looking bridge in such a densely-populated part of the city – especially when you only have nine months to do it!”

About the project: Hills Shire Council wanted to improve community access through local bushland at Kellyville North in Sydney’s north-west. We were appointed as the lead contractor to deliver a series of concrete approach paths and a new cable-stayed pedestrian and cycling bridge across Smalls Creek, based on our Stirling™ system. With a busy residential area immediately to the west and local bushland to the east, it required clever design, careful planning and ongoing community consultation. (Oh, and we only had nine months to make it all happen!)

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Googong 

Completed 2019

“As distinctive as it is durable, there’s a wonderful raw beauty to the way the entire structure sits within its landscape.”

About the project: Since 2018, we’ve delivered more than 15 Shade and Access structures at Googong – a 780-hectare residential development being co-created by Mirvac and Peet near Queanbeyan, less than 16km from Parliament House in Canberra. One of the largest structures to date has been this fantastic 24-metre multi-span pedestrian bridge which opened to the community in November 2019. Providing safe passage across a local creek, the core design is based on our Balmoral™ system and features Corten ‘fin’ balustrades.

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Australian Botanic Gardens 

Due for completion end 2021

“It’s the longest suspension bridge we’ve ever delivered, and sure to be one of the very best too.”

About the project: Australian Botanic Gardens is one of the most popular regional tourist destinations in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. Since June 2020, we’ve been working as the lead contractor for Greater Shepparton City Council to help improve access for visitors and increase the daily capacity of the site. Central to this is the design and installation of a new suspension bridge spanning the Broken River which flows directly through the gardens. At an impressive 55 metres long, it’s the longest suspension bridge we’ve ever delivered and has even required specialised cables to be made in Italy. The new bridge is scheduled to be opened at the end of 2021 – so watch this space for updates!

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