Ropes Crossing

“Delivering a ‘big backyard’ for a local community within a stringent budget”

Executive Summary

Ropes Crossing is a fully master planned community in Western Sydney developed by Lendlease. Incorporating several parks and open spaces, including a 25km bike and walking trail, our brief was to help enhance the overarching community feel of the estate through the addition of four new pedestrian bridges, five picnic shelters and three public art entry features. The success of the multi-faceted project is testament to Fleetwood’s ability to deliver high quality results on time within stringent budgets.

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Executive Summary

Ropes Crossing is a fully master planned community in Western Sydney developed by Lendlease. Incorporating several parks and open spaces, including a 25km bike and walking trail, our brief was to help enhance the overarching community feel of the estate through the addition of four new pedestrian bridges, five picnic shelters and three public art entry features. The success of the multi-faceted project is testament to Fleetwood’s ability to deliver high quality results on time within stringent budgets.

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Fleetwood Involvement

Having collaborated with Lendlease successfully in the past, Fleetwood was hand-picked to work with the project’s artists, architects and planners. For the public artworks, our role was to engineer and model the unique structures from the artist sketches, before selecting suitable materials and leading the construction and installation phase using specialist manufacturing techniques - with much of the work taking place in our off-site workshop. For each of the four bridges, we managed all site works, excavating and pouring the footings before installing the bridges as pre-assembled units. The picnic shelters required us to translate architect sketches into realisable designs and the engineer’s drawings. We then manufactured and installed the structures using a variety of low-maintenance materials.

More Project Information

1

The vision was to create a ‘big backyard’ for local families with a range of easily-accessible entertaining spaces and amenities. Lendlease wanted continuity in design across all of the linking elements, with a particular emphasis on artistically interpreting the site’s proud defence heritage. One such element was a picnic shelter modelled on the appearance of the Hercules aircraft used by the Australian Air Force.

2

Considering the large number of elements to be produced, managing the budget was a constant challenge. Beyond this, we needed to make a number of key modifications to our standard Balmoral™ design to meet Council requirements, including the addition of metal mesh decking made entirely by galvanised steel. The unique artworks posed their share of construction challenges, largely due to their use of reclaimed materials such as disused railway tracks, sleepers and timbers beams that were often delicate, weathered and rusted. Lead paint had also been used extensively on the original railway platform overpass, requiring careful safety planning and sealing.

3

Delivering the creative vision for the three entry features required considerable innovation. The north and south access features saw us employ specialist manufacturing techniques. For the third entry feature, the Susannah Drive Marker Poles, we selected and recycled hardwood sleepers from the site’s dismantled Australian Defence warehouse, before working them with a variety of equipment to create bespoke slots for the weathering steel art panels and embed coloured strips of steel.

4

  • Four zero-maintenance steel cycleway bridges
  • Five custom picnic shelters
  • Three public art entry features, including the ‘Susannah Drive Marker Poles’
  • Restoration of an existing railway overpass platform that was incorporated into a neighbourhood park
5

  • Mild steel
  • Hot dip galvanising
  • Stainless steel
  • Weathering steel
  • Recycled hardwood
  • Concrete footings
6

  • Balmoral™ bridge
  • Targa™ shelter
  • Vista™ shelter
7

Working with old, reclaimed materials posed several additional safety hazards. The paint used on the original railway platform overpass was lead-based. This required us to seal the entire structure using containment screens before encasing the existing paint with a new, safer finish. The rusted steel railway tracks also required additional care when being handled, cut and installed.

8

To eliminate disruptions to the Ropes Crossing community and its natural surroundings, all designs and materials were chosen to be low maintenance. Where possible, we also specified sustainable and recycled materials, such as the hardwood sleepers used in the Susannah Drive Marker Poles, and disused railway tracks sourced from the Ropes Crossing site itself.

9

With its seamlessly-connected network of public amenities and thoroughfares, the completed project facilitates new levels of social interaction between members of the Ropes Crossing community. The art installations have also created much-loved landmarks that are talking points for residents and visitors alike.

10

Access in and around the natural surroundings at Ropes Crossing has been significantly enhanced. Pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy uninterrupted passage across the estate’s many creeks, while the outdoor parklands are now easily-accessible for exercise, relaxing or play, 365 days a year.

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Awards

Award Name Location Year
Pacific Safe Community Accreditation Ropes Crossing 2010