BECAUSE ALL HISTORY IS IMPORTANT series
Also known as:
Beach Street Bridge / Footbridge / Overpass
Elder Street Carpark Bridge / Footbridge / Overpass
Fremantle Pedestrian Bridge / Footbridge / Overpass
Parry Street Pedestrian Overpass
Passenger Terminal Footbridge/Overpass
That closed footbridge in Fremantle
The only footbridge in the vicinity of Beach Street in Fremantle, aside from the vehicle underpass further east connecting Beach Street to the Fremantle Port, was closed in around September 2022 due to "safety concerns".
Citing some kind of structural quandary which warranted further investigation, it feels like an almost impossible task to find any documents or information elaborating on this issue, if it was even the case in the first place.
To this day, there are no available updates, aside from implied knowledge that the PTA intends to demolish the bridge. Any repairs or results from a structural investigation (despite no evidence of it being carried out) are not easy to find or publicly available.
Many who have attempted to contact the PTA themselves, including members from the Fremantle Council and Roel Looper on behalf of his Freo's View blog & the Fremantle Herald, don't appear to receive any answers, if they're lucky enough to get a response. Perhaps it's the case that the PTA doesn't even know themselves!
The Statute of Limited Information
2023 - April 26: During the City of Fremantle's Ordinary Meeting of Council, two questions were raised in regards to the closed footbridge by a man called David Hudson (p.4)
Q1 - Why is the footbridge to the passenger terminal closed?
The City is of the understanding that the Public Transport Authority (PTA) has closed the pedestrian bridge due to structural safety concerns.
Q2 - Can Council and/or the CEO approach the PTA and see what's happening with the footbridge?
The City has contacted the PTA to seek an update of the future of the pedestrian bridge. The response provided is that it is the intention to develop up some options with input from various stakeholders in the near future to put to their Minister.
2022 - October 28: Roel Looper is contacted by passengers on the Coral Princess cruise ship, who complain to him about the difficulties of crossing from Beach Street to the Passenger Terminal. In particular, struggles from frail older people who depend on walking frames who need to make their way over to the railway station crossing some 1.3km, in lieu of accessing the bridge, a mere 250m away. (No mention is made of the free shuttle buses available when cruise ships are berthed).
Days after the post was written on his Freo's View blog, the Maritime Day event was hosted at the Passenger Terminal. Further parking difficulties were felt by the community, as the Beach Street carpark was still a difficult option for many people.
2022 - October 14: Whilst the Fremantle City Council and Fremantle Ports are hoping the PTA will replace the now-closed footbridge, it appears quite obvious that the PTA don't share the same enthusiasm. An article published in the Fremantle Herald Interactive by Roel Looper, reiterated how passengers disembarking off cruise ships were now left with no choice but to walk more than a kilometre to cross the railway line at the train station to access hotels, B&B or rather, anything on the other side of the line.
The Fremantle City Council has been encouraging the PTA to move the bus station a few hundred metres east to improve the aesthetic look of the historic train station, as well as improving its connection with Pioneer Park and the rest of the city. Like the footbridge, it appears the PTA is well and truly resistant to change. (Aren't government bodies supposed to be a team rather than isolated like they don't want to share their diseases??)
2022 - September 2: Fremantle Shipping News posts an article stating that a closed sign was installed on the footbridge this week. Upon contacting the PTA for further information, they receive a response stating, "The Public Transport Authority's number one priority is the safety of our passengers, and of anyone else who uses our infrastructure". The PTA refer to the footbridge as the "Parry Street pedestrian overpass" and go on to say that after consulting Fremantle Ports, they had made the decision to close it in July 2022, pending structural investigations (Aye bro, you sure about that??). Regardless of the bridge's closure, Fremantle Ports offer cruise ship passengers a free bus shuttle service between the Passenger Terminal and areas of Fremantle City, including the train station.
2022 - June 21: Roel Loopers from Freo's View sends David Hynes, spokesperson for the PTA, a text message asking him if it was correct that the PTA intends to demolish the footbridge. The questions arose in response to a credible tip-off Roel had received that morning, informing him that the footbridge was earmarked for demolition within the next 18 months.
Six hours later, David responds with the PTA's media email address for Roel to contact. Roel then emails the PTA for an update, particularly in regards to when demolition will take place and whether or not a replacement bridge or gated level crossing will be constructed in its place. He never received a response, let alone acknowledgement (bogans!)
2015 - July 28: The West Australian Planning Commission (p.24) publishes their Endorsement Victoria Quay Commercial Precinct Plan and Fremantle Station Precinct Plan. The pedestrian overpass is planned to be retained (didja tell the PTA??), whilst a second overpass will be built to connect the railway station with the Commercial Precinct in Victoria Quay.
2014 - October 8: The City of Fremantle's Special Projects Committee meet to discuss the Victoria Quay Precinct plan (p.91) amongst others. A minimum of two ground level crossings are proposed at Pakenham Street and south of the train station, as well as an upper level connection north of the station. In addition, the pedestrian footbridge from Beach Street to the Passenger Terminal will be retained (better inform the PTA then!)
2013 - May 16: Coastiedee comments on the CruiseCritic forum about the dangers of the footbridge. Whilst making his way across it to reach his cruise ship the year before, the heavy weight of his bag (obviously on wheels) almost injured him when the steepness of the bridge nearly pulled him backwards (Humps! It's all about the humps! Everyone loves their humps and slows down to look at them, whilst being safe ofc!!)
I hereby officially give up trying to Google answers, history, information or whatever!! Aside from the multiple different labels for the pedestrian bridge, most results that come up are for that big arse thing that crosses the river by the port next to the railway and has the road, with fisher people underneath. That too has a couple of alias but I know it as the Queen Victoria Street Bridge. For the mo!