Four major developers came together on Sunday 22 May to officially open Sydney’s first privately funded active travel bridge.
The Bennelong Bridge stretches across the Parramatta River to connect the two new high-density urban centres of Rhodes and Wentworth Point. It has been designed to only carry public transport buses, cyclists and pedestrians, with provision for emergency services to also use it if required.
Under a Voluntary Planning Agreement, the Wentworth Point Landowners Alliance, comprising Sekisui House, Billbergia Group, Homebush Bay Properties and Homebush Bay Holdings, jointly funded the entire $63 million dollar design and construction cost.
In exchange, the developers were granted an uplift in density, proceeds of which funded the project. Ownership of the bridge has been passed to Roads and Maritime Services.
Construction commenced in September 2014, and the project took approximately 20 months to complete.
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The benefits for residents of the new communities include putting the railway station at Rhodes within a 500-metre walk or cycle for Wentworth Point residents – previously it was 8km by road – and giving residents at Rhodes more direct access to the Olympic Park ferry wharf and the retail and social amenities at Wentworth Point.
Sekisui House Australia president and managing director Toru Abe said the opening of Bennelong Bridge would provide significant long-term benefit to the community of Wentworth Point and the wider community of Rhodes and Canada Bay.
“The new bridge will also provide tremendous lifestyle benefits to the entire Canada Bay, Rhodes and Sydney Olympic Park communities, which will link to an extensive foreshore pedestrian and cycleway around the peninsula stretching more than 30 kilometres,” Mr Abe said.
The first people to use the bridge were thousands of local residents who attended the official opening and then walked across from Wentworth Point to Rhodes for the first time after the official opening.
Sydney buses commenced services using the bridge to provide commuter routes to Chatswood, Olympic Park and Burwood the following day.