Group GSA completes snaking footbridge through red gum tree canopy in Werribee
Group GSA have shared their recently completed orange pedestrian bridge with WAN. Slipping through the leafy fronds of a red gum tree canopy in Werribee, Australia, the 165m bridge was inspired by the native eastern brown snake. The uniform brown tones of this venomous land snake are starkly contrasted with an underbelly of bright orange, yellow or grey, a colour combination that has directly inspired the arrangement of Group GSA’s new pedestrian structure.
Threading its way through the canopy, this elegantly looping bridge rises over reflective rivers and winds in coils around mature gum trees. The purpose of the new bridge is to encourage a heavier footfall from the retail hub of Werribee to Wyndham Park, a generous recreational facility with barbeque and picnic facilities, giving pedestrians an additional option to access these public amenities.
Group GSA explains: “The challenges included threading a bridge structure through the remnant river gum tree canopy, and a structure that could span the river without disturbing the river bank minimising any impact of the recently re-established population of platypi.” Wyndham Park is currently undergoing a successful programme focussing on expanding the number of platypi in its boundaries, with a series of educational events and talks open to the public. Care has therefore been taken to disrupt the local environment as little as possible.
Costs on the scheme have been kept to a minimum by reducing the steel plate thickness, made possible by extending the standard steel box truss the length of the side flanges alternating on either side. By combining this with the plan curve the structure was strengthened, meaning thinner steel plates could be used. The orange hue that forms the underside of the Wedge Street Bridge makes it instantly recognisable and users can track the path through the treetops as it contrasts against the green foliage.