By Asa Wahlquist, Bulletin 5/2023, July
Asa is the Glebe Society’s representative on the new Sydney Fish Market Community Consultative Committee.
Multiplex, the builder of the new Sydney Fish Market, and INSW, the government body overseeing, have responded to community concerns and decided against raising Bridge Road in front of the market.
Under the original plan, Bridge Road would be raised by one metre, tapering off to its current level at the junctions with Wentworth Park Road and Wattle Street.
When the Fish Market Community Consultative Committee (CCC) was informed about the plans, many, including The Glebe Society’s representative, objected. Members objected to the proposed months of disruption while Bridge Road was reduced to two lanes, the increased risk of flooding at the junction of Wentworth Park Road and Bridge Road, the trimming of heritage fig trees in Wentworth Park and the lack of a reasonable explanation for the work.
Project Manager with Multiplex, Paul Couani, says that the revised plans were a response to the CCC’s objections. The City of Sydney had also objected, citing concerns about increased flooding. It is understood that Transport for NSW had concerns about disrupting traffic on Bridge Road which is a major arterial route.
Under both plans Bridge Road will be widened on the Fish Market side to create a bay for buses and taxis to drop off passengers.
The rationale for raising Bridge Road was to enable passengers to step off onto a footpath at the same level as the Fish Market. Mr Couani said there were in fact benefits in having the road at the current level and the footpath raised to the level of the Fish Market.
The footpath will be shared by bikes and pedestrians, so it eliminates the risk of a passenger stepping out of a bus or taxi into the path of a bike. The steps and ramps that will be constructed will lead people to the entrance of the long building.
There will be some disruption as services are relocated and while the footpath is raised, but most services are located under the footpath region, rather than under the road.
Cost savings were not mentioned, but they are no doubt a factor. The cost of raising Bridge Road was included in the overall estimate for building the Fish Market, most recently estimated to be $750 million in 2019. It is now undoubtedly higher after four years of inflation, the pandemic, increased materials cost and the usual increase in the cost of constructing public infrastructure.