by Ron Bernthal
The Brisbane Australia City Council is building five new “green” bridges across the city which will make it even easier to get around the city on foot, bike or electric scooter, and more convenient to connect with already existing public transport. Thus the word “green” in this innovative building project.
The new bridges will link Kangaroo Point to the Brisbane Central Business District (CBD), Toowong to West End, St Lucia to West End, as well as a new crossing at Breakfast Creek. The fifth bridge is in the development stage regarding location and construction timelines.
The Brisbane Council is prepared to deliver its Green Bridges Project to help stimulate the local economy and create jobs, partially to offset the business and social upheaval resulting from the coronavirus, but also to maintain the city’s reputation as a great place to live and visit.
The Council has committed the city’s largest ever investment in active transport with a $300 milion AUD ($230 million USD) commitment over the next four years to deliver the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges, where construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 and complete in 2023. Three other bridges will follow.
In total, the Council will invest up to $550 million AUD ($423 million USD) for its transformational plan to build the new green bridges, and will seek funding contributions from the state of Queensland and Australian governments. The new bridges will connect the inner-city suburb of Kangaroo Point with Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens; Toowong to West End; St. Lucia to West End; and the newly designated crossing at Breakfast Creek. Specific alignments for the West End bridges will be determined after community discussions.
The Breakfast Creek bridge will connect Brisbane’s northern suburbs with the city’s Central Business District, and the Kangaroo green bridge concept, developed by Cox Architecture, Arup, and the Brisbane City council, the green bridges will include separate cycling and pedestrian lanes. The Kangaroo Point bridge is expected to accommodate 5,400 daily trips for cyclists and pedestrians, thus taking approximately 83,690 cars off the road annually.
Brisbane is the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, and is currently Australia’s fastest growing destination and the country’s third most populated city, with a population of about 2.4 million residents. Located along the Brisbane River, the city is known for its beautiful weather and, with 280 days of sunshine annually, its many outdoor activities. These include dozens of nearby beaches along the country’s Gold Coast, hundreds of outdoor cafes and restaurants, parks and athletic fields, and thousands of outdoor food markets.
Although Brisbane is sometimes called “BrisVegas” because of its several casinos, other amenities are attracting visitors as well, including the Queensland Museum, a large downtown Performing Arts Center, and the Gallery of Modern Art. The local economy is primarilly based on the mining industry, agriculture and finance, with tourism contributing more than $3.3 billion AUD ($2.2 billion USD) to the city’s gross regional product. The state of Queensland is moving to expand future growth sectors that include healthcare, and scientific and technical services.
In a move to further improve Brisbane’s public transpotation, it was announced in 2020 that Arup will take the lead role in designing the new Brisbane Metro project, a ‘turn up and go’ rapid transit system that will transform public transport across the City. The consortium Brisbane Move (Arup and ACCIONA) will work on a new 13-mile high frequency electric bus network.
The Metro will use 60 trackless electric vehicles, each with a capacity of 150 passengers. There will be two routes, 18 stations, including 11 interchange stations connecting with suburban bus and train services. It is expected to begin operations in 2023.
Brisbane City Council says the project benefits include faster journey times for passengers, comfortable regular services, easy interchange and reduced congestion in the city with a better planned network.
The project, which is co-funded by Brisbane City Council and the Australian Government, also includes delivering on the Adelaide Street Vision, a new tunnel under Adelaide Street that will minimise the impact on businesses, pedestrians, public transport users and trees, a new active transport connection at North Quay and an upgrade of Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct.
The work will see traffic removed from Victoria Bridge converting it into a ‘green’ bridge exclusively for buses, pedestrians and cyclists. This will see Victoria Bridge reduced to three lanes for bus and Metro services, providing a bi-directional bikeway and improved pedestrian path widths.
Brisbane Move will work with Brisbane City Council to deliver a shade solution across Victoria Bridge. The consortium is also committed to working with Bicycle User Groups to get the best cycling design outcomes on Melbourne Street.