A New Australian Bridge Undergoes an Enlightening Test

June 18, 2018

As work on a suspension pedestrian bridge in Australia neared completion, the LED lighting on that new structure was officially tested for the first time. This Monday evening trial run, according to the West Australian newspaper, was held “with the inclement weather failing to dampen the colorful display.” The bridge crosses over the Swan River in Perth, the capital and largest city of the state of Western Australia (WA), and it was built to serve as a link for pedestrians between Perth’s inner suburbs of Burswood and East Perth. This bridge is also open to bicycle traffic.

Construction on the bridge began in November 2015. This structure was initially referred to as the Swan River Pedestrian Bridge. In November 2017, however, the WA government formally named it the Matagarup Bridge. Matagarup is a phrase in the Australian Aboriginal language Nyungar, which is still spoken in parts of WA, that means “place where the river is only leg deep, allowing it to be crossed.” This phrase has also been used to describe the section of Perth where its namesake bridge is now located.

After the successful test of the LED lighting on the Matagarup Bridge on June 18, 2018, additional steps were taken to likewise ensure that the structure would be ready for public use. On July 1, the pouring of concrete on the bridge’s deck was completed.

The first test walk across the bridge occurred three days later. Those taking part in this walk included Mark McGowan, WA premier; Rita Saffioti, WA’s minister for transport, planning, and lands; several other public officials; and more than 100 workers who had helped construct the bridge. More rigorous test walks subsequently took place between July 7 and 9, when hundreds of local residents hiked across the bridge so that engineers could monitor the resulting vibrations of the structure and assess how those could be further reduced. Finally, on July 14, the Matagarup Bridge was officially opened. 

The Matagarup Bridge, which was designed to resemble two flying swans, is 1,214 feet (370 meters) in length. In addition, the bridge is covered with 3,000 feet (900 meters) of multi-colored LED lighting.

Photo Credits: The Matagarup Bridge at night, taken by Gnangarra; the Matagarup Bridge during the day, taken by JarrahTree (both images licensed under Creative Commons)

For more information on the Matagarup Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matagarup_Bridge

Additional information on bridges in Perth is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bridges_in_Perth,_Western_Australia

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