The McGowan Government has announced it will be increasing clearance of the 50-year-old Hay Street Bridge over the Mitchell Freeway, following a series of traffic-stopping truck strikes in recent years.
Plans to improve the vertical clearance of Hay Street Bridge over the Mitchell Freeway were announced with a call for expressions of interest to undertake the improvement works at the bridge-strike Perth hotspot.
The Hay Street Bridge location has also become a priority, given the bridge’s history of strikes by unauthorised over-height vehicles. Data reveals the Hay Street Bridge has been hit 20 times, with nine of these strikes occurring within the past five years.
The most recent strike occurred in August 2018, causing safety concerns and prolonged disruption to traffic while the clean-up and engineering assessment of the bridge was undertaken.
The bridge was constructed in 1968 and complied with bridge height clearance standards of the day, however, it is now considered a low height clearance structure.
Once the improvement works are completed, there will be a significant reduction to the risk of vehicle strikes. Construction timing will depend on the outcome of the expressions of interest process, however, it will likely start in late 2020.
The $6 million project is being funded by the State Government. More information on the procurement process is available at https://www.tenders.wa.gov.au
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“As most Perth road users would be aware, there are very significant safety risks and traffic delays caused by unauthorised over height-vehicles hitting the Hay Street Bridge when travelling southbound on Mitchell Freeway.
“Lane closures are sometimes required to clean up resulting debris and to assess potential bridge damage. This leads to heavy traffic congestion for long periods of time, which causes frustration for all road users.
“The expressions of interest will help Main Roads establish an alliance contract to progress the agency’s preliminary plans for improving the bridge clearance, with a view to commence construction later this year.
“Given the complex nature of these works, as well as the location, there will be substantial impacts for road users and the wider community when works are undertaken.
“Main Roads and its alliance partner will explore all opportunities to minimise these impacts, and will work closely with stakeholders during the development of the design and construction.
“This is one of seven projects our Government has either underway or planned to improve traffic flow and safety on the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways.”