Hundreds walk across Matagarup Bridge as part of "dynamic tuning" test
THE promise of panoramic Swan River and CBD views motivated 299 of the 300 people that rolled out of bed early on a chilly July morning to be the first members of the public onto Matagarup Bridge yesterday.
For the 300th, legally blind Paul Crestani, it was the opportunity to make history alongside his sons Toby, 13, and Luke, 12.
Flanked by his boys and feeling his way with the aid of a long cane, Mr Crestani joined the throng of excited volunteers walking laps of the bridge as part of the “dynamic tuning” process, designed to measure and then eliminate excess vibration or sway in the pedestrian span.
Despite being unable to see, the Gosnells resident has soaked up the atmosphere at every football game played at Optus Stadium – both Dockers and Eagles – since it opened.
A Dockers member, he takes both sons to all Fremantle games and the boys take turns accompanying him to West Coast fixtures.
He said his family had closely monitored the at times painstakingly slow progress of the 18-month overdue bridge.
“With delay after delay it feels like we’ve been on a real journey with the bridge so we wanted to be here today,” Mr Crestani said.
“We take the train to the games so we’ll probably never use the bridge on actual match days.”
Kids Toby and Luke said the original inspiration for the bridge, a photograph taken by architect Neil Bourne of two black swans with their necks intertwined, was clearly reflected in the final design.
East Perth residents and construction industry veterans Martin Lowry, Jenny Bunner and David Lee said when the bridge opened ahead of the Dockers clash with Port Adelaide next Sunday their travel time to Optus Stadium would be slashed to just 15 minutes.
“Hopefully people will accumulate on the East Perth side and then walk across together, just like the Federation Square march (to the MCG) in Melbourne,” Mr Lowry said.
Main Roads WA project director Ilario Spagnolo said there was a slight vibration in the middle span of the bridge that engineers would look at tuning out in coming days.
“The bridge is designed to move a little bit so it is nothing unexpected,” he said.
“It is not a safety issue at all, this whole tuning process is all about delivering the maximum level of comfort possible for bridge users.”
The dynamic tuning process will continue with groups of volunteers on Monday before adjustments to the tuned mass damper, a giant shock absorber built into the bridge, are made Wednesday.
On Thursday, 50 State Emergency Service members will run, jump and march along the bridge in unison as part of a final round of testing before it opens to the public.