26 Aug 2020

First two Brisbane green bridges to cost $257 million

Brisbane City Council is preparing to fork out $257 million for two of its planned five green bridges, starting the tender process for the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek bridges.

Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said the expressions-of-interest process would go before the council for approval on Tuesday for the two bridges, which had been budgeted to use up almost half the council's $550 million budget for five new green bridges.

The Kangaroo Point pedestrian and cycle bridge will link the eastern suburbs to the city centre with a new connection, while the Breakfast Creek bridge will include a significant addition of bikeway to the Lores Bonney Riverwalk.

Cr Schrinner said the two bridges had been fast-tracked as their planning was further ahead than two planned West End bridges, while a scrapped Bellbowrie-Wacol bridge has left the location of the fifth bridge up in the air.

"Our city has sustained a brutal economic hit this year, but my administration is determined that we build for the future. This means we get people into work now and critical infrastructure projects like these bridges are how we do that," he said.

“Kicking off this procurement process quickly is also about breathing life into the local construction industry and expanding supplier opportunities for struggling businesses."

The lord mayor said discussions were continuing with the state and federal governments over additional funding for the the LNP administration's bridges program, hampered by the delays in releasing government budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Geotechnical work on the Kangaroo Point bridge location is under way and the council says both bridges will support about 500 jobs during construction.

But council opposition leader Jared Cassidy said the budget announced for the two bridges was a "cost blowout".

"These two bridges are supposed to be the cheapest and simplest to build, yet they’ve already chewed up nearly half of the $550 million green bridge budget," he said.

"This project is bound to be another major LNP cost blowout.

"Before pouring huge amounts of ratepayers’ funds into big flashy projects, how about the lord mayor gets the basics right first and fixes 2000 kilometres of broken and dangerous footpaths."

The Gabba ward councillor Jonathan Sri, in whose ward the Kangaroo Point bridge sits, welcomed the design announcements.

"... I'm genuinely grateful that the administration has been working constructively with me on this," Cr Sri said.

"However, we are still calling on the mayor to guarantee that any impacts on public green space will be offset by the creation of new parkland nearby."

Cr Sri also said he was concerned costs would rise by using outsourced companies and labour, rather than the council retaining its own construction workforce permanently.

Regarding the two West End bridges, one connecting to St Lucia and the other to Toowong, Cr Schrinner said the council was looking at the former ABC Toowong site, which was sold to developers Sunland in 2009 but was now back on the market.

He said the council would be considering whether the location was suitable for the Toowong bridge landing point, but the cost of the land was significantly higher than in 2009, and discussions with the developers would be needed.

SOURCE: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/first-two-brisbane-green-bridges-to-cost-257-million-20200818-p55ms1.html

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