Toowong to West End Green Bridge Project Faces Uncertain Future Amidst Brisbane Budget Cuts

Brisbane’s highly anticipated Toowong to West End Green Bridge is now in limbo, as the city authorities recently announced budget cuts, forcing an indefinite pause on the project.

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The project, already experiencing delays, was set to enter a detailed design phase later this year. However, Brisbane City Council’s decision to cut spending by 10 percent as a response to the ongoing global inflation crisis has now placed the future of the bridge in uncertainty.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner revealed that the Council would implement a significant $400 million spending cut in its 2023/2024 budget.

Cr Schrinner justified this emergency budget cut as a critical measure to prevent a forecasted budget blowout in the coming year, driven by escalating costs of construction labour, materials, and services.

Artist’s impression of the bridge’s rest point (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council/Flickr)

The Toowong to West End Green Bridge, which is one of the four green bridges planned for the city, will be impacted.

The council had previously unveiled the concept design for the green bridge, which is built upon the favoured alignment stretching from the southeast corner of 600 Coronation Drive, Toowong, to Orleigh Park (near Forbes Street), West End.

Beyond the Green Bridges program, other areas affected by the budget cuts include the Brisbane Metro, advertising, consultants, travel expenses, and councillor ward budgets. Notably, the shading project for Victoria Bridge, estimated at $5 million, has also been halted indefinitely.

Cr Schrinner defended the decision, drawing parallels between the Council’s approach and responsible household budgeting. He stressed the importance of spending less to prevent residents from facing higher costs, resulting in Council planning to reduce its daily spending by $1.6 million from its $4.2 billion budget.

Despite the severity of the cuts, the Lord Mayor assured that there would be no staff redundancies or impacts on waste collection services. 

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The adoption of these measures seems to be a calculated step aimed at preventing potential increases in rates, particularly in light of the approaching election year. As Brisbane residents anticipate the consequences, the future of various significant projects, such as the Toowong to West End Green Bridge, remains uncertain.

Published 18-October-2023

Brisbane’s New Lord Mayor Announces New Green Bridges for West End

Brisbane’s new Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has promised five new green bridges across the city and two of them will be in West End.

One of the proposed connections would be from West End to St Lucia whilst the other one will be connecting the suburb to Toowong.

There are possibilities that the bridges will be like the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, the first bridge in Australia exclusively designed for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

Cr Schrinner shared a picture of the Eleanor Schonell bridge on his Twitter account, along with an announcement that his team is committed to building new green bridges in the Brisbane River to “ensure the city is cleaner, greener, and more active.”

The new green bridges, which could cost more than half a billion dollars, are expected to be delivered within five to 10 years.

Cr Schrinner, who wants to focus on green spaces and liveability, added that the three other proposed connections would be in Kangaroo Point, Breakfast Creek and Bellbowrie.

West End to Toowong

Cr Schrinner said they are looking at options regarding the best location of the bridge and among the considered locations is the former ABC site in Toowong.

He revealed that they are considering purchasing the now privately owned former ABC site for the West End to Toowong bridge.

“There are a number of locations where a bridge can be built between West End and Toowong, we want to get the right location,” he said.

Earlier this month, State Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman and Councillor for The Gabba Jonathan Sri launched a community survey in Toowong and found that majority of the residents surveyed support a new footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists connecting the suburb to West End.

Mr Berkman said the former ABC site could be an idyllic riverfront park and a perfect landing point for a walking and cycling bridge connecting West End and Toowong.

Apart from further discussions with residents, Mr Berkman said they will be consulting engineering, planning and design experts for the exact location and design of the footbridge.

West End to St Lucia

In 2017, the University of Queensland already proposed a master plan for their St Lucia campus, calling for a new pedestrian bridge linking the campus to West End.

The university backed down from their plans after Brisbane City Council said it had no intentions of funding construction of the bridge, which UQ said it would not be offering to build itself.

As of 2017, there were 99,000 commuter trips to the university each day and 63 percent of them made by public transport or bike.

Cr Schrinner said this just shows the demand for a new bridge going to the University of Queensland.