Morris Road runs in a north / south direction and is a local arterial road. The section of Morris Road to the south of Sayers Road is well established and carries 19,300 vpd, however to the north Morris Road was constructed in a staggered manner as abutting land parcels were developed. This resulted in a disjointed road that left residents partially landlocked whereby their only way in or out was to travel the “long way around”. The fact that Morris Road didn’t connect all the way up to Leakes Road also put added pressure on the already congested Sayers Road during peak times.
In 2007 Wyndham City started planning for the construction of the Morris Road bridge over Skeleton Creek. The bridge was to provide a vital traffic link over the creek, whilst catering for a future 4 lanes of traffic and a shared path on both sides of the road.
Prior to the commencement of design, Wyndham City engaged several consultants to undertake Flora and Fauna and archaeological investigations to determine the sensitivity of the site. These studies found an aboriginal artefact within the site that was later reburied further along the creek by a suitably qualified archaeologist in line with the recommendations of the Cultural Heritage Management Plan. The reports also found that Skeleton Creek was potential growling grass frog habitat. Whilst no growling grass frogs were actually spotted at the site, the potential for these endangered animals to be present meant that strict environmental protection measures were adopted during the construction phase to ensure the river and its environs were not compromised by the construction activity.
To minimise impact on the creek it was decided that the bridge would need to be clear span without any supports located within the creek bed.
A total of 10 existing river red gums needed to be removed along the creek edge to make way for the bridge. These trees were less than 10 years old however they held some landscape significance in the area. They will be replaced with 50 new trees that will be replanted further along the creek during 2011.
Whilst the bridge connection has always been on the cards, residents that lived in the “dead end” section of Morris Road would face a change in existing conditions once the bridge was built. Traffic volumes in their end of the street would grow from less that 100 vpd to a potential 18,000 vpd. It was important that these residents in particular were kept informed of the project through residents meetings and updates.
The Morris Rd bridge is 70 metres long and consists of 3 spans. The bridge itself is essentially a concrete construction with concrete piers and 1.35 m deep super-T beams. The super-T beams were precast off site and transported onto site for erection. The longest span is 30.55m over Skeleton Creek.
The design incorporates public lighting along the central median with the added inclusion of feature lighting attached to the balustrade. The feature lighting was included to provide some interest to the bridge and provide a unique identity for the bridge. The lighting ‘poles’ are steel uprights with openings cut into them at nominated locations. These opening are lined with Perspex and illuminated with LED’s. The lighting uprights are painted a striking red that attracts the eye during the day and reflects a warm glow at night when the lights are switched on.
The underside of the bridge was painted a contrasting grey and the balustrade was coloured a grey/blue to provide further contrast with the red lighting columns.
The complete link
Morris Road now runs all the way through from Sayers Road to Leakes Road. The bridge has provided a vital link in this connection and has been constructed to cater for future growth in traffic volumes. Residents no longer have to travel extra kilometres out of their way to cross Skeleton Creek and the bridge has provided some relief for nearby Sayers Road.
Overall the colour palette and finishes selected have resulted in much more than just a stock standard bridge; they have provided the community with a piece of infrastructure that provides individuality.