‘We have been absolutely nailed’

‘We have been absolutely nailed’

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The new bridge over the Serpentine River on Richardson Street. Photograph - Richard Polden.

The Richardson Street Bridge over the Serpentine River has officially reopened despite causing a headache for road users and businesses for nearly four months.

Demolition works commenced on March 7 with the replacement bridge estimated to take about 20 weeks to complete.

The road closure between Summerfield Road and Karnup Road meant road users needed to use South West Highway or several back road networks to get to and from the town centre, which greatly affected several businesses in the Serpentine area.

Owner of both Serpentine Pharmacy and Mundijong and Serpentine Medical Centre, William Safar, said during the road closure his business was culled by 30 to 40 per cent on a daily basis.

“We have been absolutely nailed,” he said.

“The only correspondences we have had from the shire about the opening are the signs that are out there. We have had no communication from the shire, nor has anyone bothered to come in and explain the situation nor check out how we are going.”

Since the reopening Mr Safar said he had noticed a significant lift in customer numbers but it was difficult to confirm as the school holiday period was generally always quieter.

Bottlemart Serpentine Jarrahdale Liquor Store manager Tony Henderson and Serpentine Jarrahdale Australia Post manager Emmy Rogers said both businesses had seen less familiar faces during the time of the road closure.

Ms Rogers said there were some customers we would have seen three or four times a week before the closure and we only see them maybe once a week now.

“We had a lot of parcels that would take up a lot of room because customers wouldn’t come in and get them,” she said.

Shire President Michelle Rich visited the site of the $850,000 project last week and thanked nearby residents for their patience during the construction period.

“Richardson Street is a key link between the Serpentine and Mundijong town sites and ensuring the bridge’s structural safety is paramount,” she said.

“The project was a complex one, however we’re pleased to say that construction has finished nearly a month earlier than expected and both the road and bridge have reopened.”

The project was co-funded by the shire, the Federal Government and Main Roads WA.

Here’s what some residents told The Examiner about their experiences during the Richardson Street road closure: 

Ramone Glasgow: So glad it is open now. I go the back way to Serpentine (Wright Road from Mundijong) and it was a bit hard having to go the highway, but you get used to it.

Elaine Weston: South West Highway is dangerous to drive down at night because of kangaroos. Most nights I drive home in the dark and Wright Road is so much quicker and safer. Karnup Road is dangerous as cows are always out.

Aaron Bryant: I’m really glad the road has reopened, as it is part of my daily commute. I was expecting great things from the bridge given that it was a longer project. I think all the greatness is underneath the tarmac where we cannot appreciate the efforts made.

Pamela Crawford: Personally, it affected my travel time to work. I work in Fremantle and the road closure added a good 10 minutes to my drive each day, which was very frustrating. We have lived in Serpentine coming up two years and Richardson/Wright Road has been closed approximately four times, twice for road surfacing, once for the pipeline and now the bridge. There was no notification from Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire.

Sheila Parker: I found it very inconvenient when travelling from Mundijong to Rockingham. After being closed from February to July I expected to see a substantially wider bridge to future proof it.

Carey Buttfield: The bridge was closed for an extremely long period of time and it added a significant amount of time to each trip. Looking at the bridge it is hard to see what took that long. They haven’t painted the lines on the road yet.

Sue Marshall: Along with the rest of the Serpentine community I was surprised at how long it took to complete and realised how often we use that road to get to Mundijong and back.

Sharon Ryniker: I have to travel to Serpentine for work and I chose to take the back roads as the bridge was closed. It nearly caused me to have a serious accident as one night I hit an adult pig that was loose on Kargotich Road.