Early warning system for Fremantle’s rail bridge

25 May 2015:

  • Early warning system alerts trains to potential danger from ships
  • New concrete buffers downstream to absorb impact
  • Strengthening Fremantle Traffic Bridge 
A project is under way in Fremantle to install an early warning system to warn the train network when ships come too close to the rail bridge.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the work followed a spate of incidents involving ships at Fremantle Port over the years.
Most recently, in August 2014, strong currents caused a container ship to break its mooring and crash into the Fremantle Rail Bridge. The bridge, built in 1964 from steel and concrete, was closed for 12 days during inspections by structural engineers.  In May 2011, the bridge was hit by a refuelling barge.
“This early warning system will provide an extra level of safety by alerting the Public Transport Authority (PTA), giving them the ability to switch the signals to red and stopping trains from crossing the bridge,” Mr Nalder said.
Installation is under way now and will be completed in September 2016.  It is one of several initiatives under way in Fremantle which the State Government has packaged together to minimise disruption to river users and to save money.
These include:
  • a $21.1 million contract to York Civil and Marine & Civil to construct new concrete and steel bollards downstream from the rail bridge to absorb significant force in the case of impact by a vessel
  • repairs to the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, which was built in 1938 and upgraded with a timber fender in 1977. The strengthening work involves repairing 57 piles and reinforcing the timber fender with metal
  • Fremantle Ports installing a sophisticated shoreside system for continuous control of tension on mooring lines, reducing strain related to strong currents and wind
  • an extra LED message board to improve vessel navigation through the southern channel. 
Fact File
  • The investment includes $21.1 million for the concrete barriers and bridge works, plus funding for the PTA to install an early warning system and for the tension controls
  • Any river channel closures will be scheduled to take advantage of tidal movements
  • Bridges will remain open, with occasional closures on the traffic bridge
  • For more information, visit http://www.transport.wa.gov.au 

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