Aug 12 2020, by Fleetwood Urban

Safe and sound at Westmead

Fleetwood chosen to deliver customised ‘Sound Block’ boardwalk for City of Parramatta and Sydney Water
When it comes to bridges and boardwalks, 2020 is fast becoming the year of ‘customisation’. Fleetwood will soon begin work on yet another fully-tailored boardwalk solution in Sydney’s west, designing and delivering a new shared pathway at Milson Park, less than 2km from the Parramatta CBD. The structure forms part of a wider project – overseen jointly by the City of Parramatta and Sydney Water – to create a vibrant recreational community space adjacent to the fast-growing Westmead Health and Educational Precinct.

We recently caught up with Project Leader, Adrian Trimmer, to find out more, including the use of Fleetwood’s proprietary sound dampening technology on the new structure.

FLEETWOOD: Adrian, your team has delivered a remarkable variety of boardwalks for Fleetwood clients in the past 18 months. The upcoming project at Westmead promises to be different once again. Can you tell us why?

ADRIAN TRIMMER: Some projects are certainly more similar than others, but subtly every project is still different. Sites, soils, surroundings, usage, they all have to be taken into account. The project at Westmead has a few particular considerations, which we’ve been through in detail with the project’s engineering contractors, Comdain Infrastructure. One of the big issues is noise, given the boardwalk’s close proximity to high-density residential areas. Another is the fact it will be situated in a flood plain that feeds into the Paramatta River.

FWD: How have these factors influenced the boardwalk’s design?

AT: Being a flood plain, we’ve had to carefully consider the design, materials and location of the structure. In particular, it needs to be kept above the 1 in 100-year flood level. Given the boardwalk will be a shared pathway linking directly to Westmead Hospital it’s expected to get quite heavy use from early mornings to late at night, with hospital workers and visitors looking to take a break and grab some fresh air. For that reason, the City of Parramatta has specifically requested the addition of our special ‘Sound Block’ sound dampening system. That will be really important for local residents whose homes back on to the park.

FWD: What difference does using the WATERSIDE™ boardwalk system make for a project like this, rather than designing everything from scratch?

AT: It makes a huge difference! For example, when you compare what we’re doing to designing and engineering a similar bespoke structure from scratch, the time and money savings really are quite significant. Waterside™ is a proven boardwalk system, it’s something we’ve used many times before and we know it very well. But unlike a lot of ‘off the shelf’ products out there, it still provides us with a high level of design flexibility. That’s why Waterside™ continues to be so popular. You can embellish and refine it to your heart’s content, so you get the best of both worlds. It makes customisation easy and affordable. 


FWD: What are some of the specific design details of the Westmead project?

AT: Dimension-wise, the Milson Park boardwalk will be 45 metres long and 4 metres wide. It actually has some design similarities to a couple of other projects we’ve recently completed in the Paramatta area. Aesthetically, it will follow the same style as our boardwalk at the Baludarri Wetlands, which are about 2km to the north-east, with a galvanised steel substructure and low-weight, high-durability FRP decking. The ‘Sound Block’ dampening system is a Fleetwood-developed technology which we’ve also used very successfully at nearby Subiaco Creek. Basically, it’s a system that eliminates the noisy rumble you get when bikes ride across FRP fixed to steel joists. 

FWD: Just finally Adrian, the way this project came about was quite unusual as well, wasn’t it?

AT: That’s right. The engineering contractors, Comdain, first approached us to provide a budget for the boardwalk when they were tendering to Sydney Water for the wider Masterplan project. Only after they won the tender did we find out the person at Comdain who’d originally contacted us had actually worked for another Fleetwood client over 12 years ago. He’d remembered us after all that time, so it was a pretty amazing long-range referral. It just goes to show you that good quality work isn’t quickly forgotten!

Contact us today to see how the WATERSIDETM boardwalk system can be customised for your next project.

*The  images in this article feature the WATERSIDETM product on similar projects

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