Bridges need to be built

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Opinion - Jon Bas­sett Deputy Edi­tor

SIR Alec Guin­ness in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai could not have done a bet­ter job blow­ing up com­mu­nity con­fi­dence in Main Roads’ plans to re­place the Cong­don Road traf­fic bridge in Swan­bourne at a pub­lic meet­ing in Clare­mont 10 days ago.

In the penul­ti­mate scene, Guin­ness (as Lt Col Ni­chol­son) is shot and falls on the plunger that blows up the bridge that has cost many of his men’s lives to build for the Ja­panese in World War II.

At the meet­ing, Main Roads en­gi­neers ar­gued with res­i­dents, some of who ad­mit­tedly were a bit ill- in­formed or put their in­ter­ests ahead of the wider com­mu­nity.

The mes­sage ap­peared dis­or­gan­ised and the peo­ple were an­gry.

The West­ern Sub­urbs Weekly is not sug­gest­ing Main Roads is as mad as Ni­chol­son, but it re­ally should have not just looked at the lit­eral lie of the land for new bridge de­signs.

While the State Govern­ment’s road builder is feel­ing flush af­ter com­plet­ing a new bridge at nearby Ashton Av­enue in Clare­mont, and has plans to re­place bridges on Hamil­ton Street in Su­bi­aco and Eric Street in Cottes­loe, it should have looked at the 1990s when res­i­dents stopped West Coast High­way’s ex­ten­sion, caus­ing much of the cur­rent con­ges­tion in Swan­bourne and Cottes­loe.

Cong­don Street’s old bridge cre­ated one of the best vil­lages in Perth and with the right de­sign and a mas­ter plan, its re­place­ment could be a poster­child for tran­sit-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment.

En­gi­neers build bridges and res­i­dents build com­mu­ni­ties, but both need to take the plunge and un­der­stand each other in Swan­bourne.

To pur­chase call or www.whis­pers­frombe­yond.com.au/cds

Main Roads and res­i­dents need to un­der­stand each other be­fore re­plac­ing the old bridge at Swan­bourne.

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