Blacktown Sportsground

“Creatively bridging a sensitive wooded riparian corridor”

Executive Summary

Blacktown Sports Club was expanding with four new rugby league and soccer fields. Fleetwood was appointed by the lead contractor, Paynter Dixon, to deliver a pedestrian bridge to provide easy access from the Club’s carpark, passing twice across a sensitive wooded riparian corridor. Rather than create a fully bespoke and costly structure, Fleetwood worked with the landscape architects, Clouston Associates, to customise an existing system – Balmoral™ - delivering a striking 150-metre curved pedestrian bridge that answered the brief brilliantly.

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Executive Summary

Blacktown Sports Club was expanding with four new rugby league and soccer fields. Fleetwood was appointed by the lead contractor, Paynter Dixon, to deliver a pedestrian bridge to provide easy access from the Club’s carpark, passing twice across a sensitive wooded riparian corridor. Rather than create a fully bespoke and costly structure, Fleetwood worked with the landscape architects, Clouston Associates, to customise an existing system – Balmoral™ - delivering a striking 150-metre curved pedestrian bridge that answered the brief brilliantly.

Fleetwood Involvement

Fleetwood was appointed by the lead contractor, Paynter Dixon following a competitive Design & Construct tender and a strong recommendation from landscape architect, Clouston Associates. Our first involvement was during the early design stages, providing Clouston Associates with detailed feedback on both the constructability and value of their design vision. It was at this stage we agreed the best way forward was to customise our existing in-house Balmoral™ system. Several key modifications were made, including the all-important balustrade. Once the design was approved, we were chosen to lead the project’s detailing, manufacturing and installation stages, guided at every step by our DesignExecute2™ process. Despite considerable challenges the new bridge was installed on time and on budget.

More Project Information

1

The aesthetic vision from Clouston Associates was for a seamless curving ramp, like an orange peel. Designing the balustrade as a continuous curve presented a major challenge, but wasn’t too much for the team at Fleetwood. The ‘Y’ shaped support columns came down to a single point, resulting in significantly greater loads on the footings, cleverly designed by Fleetwood’s engineering team. The footings were designed to land outside the creek exclusion zone for both environmental and flooding risk reasons. Another consideration was compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), requiring landings every nine metres and careful consideration of the way the balustrade interfaced with the bridge structure.

2

The bridge’s custom design, together with the sensitivities of the site itself, posed various construction challenges. Positioning of the cranes and access alongside the creek was especially difficult due to the riparian exclusion zone, requiring our installation team to modify the usual installation methods. Periods of wet weather further complicated the install, as the site became boggy and quite unstable.

3

One of the most important innovations was the use of a customised ‘fin’ balustrade, requiring extensive shop detailing. The bespoke design allowed us to adapt our existing Balmoral™ system to seamlessly curve around the outside of the new bridge – without incurring significant additional costs. Another innovation was the use of integrated lighting in the handrails, with LED drivers concealed discretely between the balustrade fins. The installation phase also called for an innovative approach due to the sensitive site and restricted access. All support frames and bridge sections were manufactured off site, before being carefully lifted into position, one section at a time.

4

  • Customised bridge design, curving in both plan and elevation
  • Laser-cut balustrade posts and panels with concealed LED handrail lighting
  • Y-shaped bridge supports
  • Low maintenance FRP decking
  • DDA compliant
5

  • Mild steel
  • Hot dip galvanising
  • Marine grade paint system
  • FRP minimesh
6

From a design perspective, vertical balusters were specified to ensure the structure was unclimbable, especially as we know horizontal wires can fail over time. Moving into the installation phase, the site’s restricted access and the need to work from heights required careful safety consideration, with risks mitigated through our SID process and various site controls. Rigging and slinging of the bridge sections was completed by professional riggers.

7

The local habitat surrounding Blacktown Sports Club is a designated preservation area and needed to be protected. A ‘no-go’ zone was established and fenced off for the duration of the project, from civil works through to final landscaping. FRP decking was intentionally chosen as a sustainable and low-maintenance option, allowing filtered light and water to easily pass through the structure, protecting both the native flora and fauna.

8

From players and fans to sponsors and officials, sports clubs are vital social connectors in Australian communities. By providing a direct and easy link to the four new sports fields at Blacktown Sports Club, the pedestrian bridge removes all potential access barriers, ensuring more people are able to come together and enjoy the action – now and for many seasons to come.

9

Blacktown Council and Blacktown Sports Club managed all community engagement before and during the project.

10

The new sports fields were always going to be wonderful additions to the facilities of the Blacktown Sports Club. But accessing them easily was also essential. The new DDA-certified pedestrian bridge ensures safe and direct access for all people in all weather conditions, enhancing the outdoor experience of athletes, officials and spectators alike.

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