Yandhai Bridge – Nepean River


The competition winning Yandhai Bridge design was strongly driven from a landscape and urban design point of view rather than an engineering focus. The resulting 200 metre truss span is a unique solution that challenges common engineering thinking and makes the bridge a destination in itself, rather than just a crossing.

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  • Brief: • Provide a pedestrian and cyclist connection between Penrith City and Emu Plains • Be a destination and create opportunities for people to engage with the river • Optimise views of the river and Victoria Bridge • Respect the historic setting • Minimise impacts on rowers • Provide a crossing that is flood proof, comfortable and safe • Be practical to construct • Be sensitive to adjacent residents' privacy. KEY CHALLENGES were minimizing impacts to the rowing course (the longest, straight natural river course worldwide), being sensitive to adjacent residents, relating to nearby bridges, responding to flood constraints and siting the bridge sensitively within its historic setting.

  • The bridge demonstrates a sensitive and innovative design that respects the site’s cultural values and is delicately sited in the surrounding landscape. The bridge capitalises on views of the river and into parkland and is sensitive to adjacent residents by respecting their privacy. The incorporation of viewing terraces, balconies and upper decks (later deleted) creates a structure that is "more than a bridge", providing new spaces and places for social interaction, allowing users to enjoy the beauty of the unique river setting. Active and passive areas along the bridge allowed for safety to be an integral part of the design. Discussions and collaboration with Penrith City Council were vital in delivering a high quality outcome that achieved their master plan vision. Working with the RMS Centre for Urban Design, Engineering Services and Project Managers we ensured durability and design excellence which has set a new benchmark in the seminal NSW document Bridge Aesthetics

  • An integrated infrastructure solution that reflects creativity and provides inspiration for future generations to set a bench mark, where the function is expanded to be more than just a utilitarian crossing point, but rather a destination in itself. • A beautiful elegant bridge providing an attractive, safe shared path connection across the Nepean River that fits sensitively into the riparian and built character and creates an aesthetic highlight for Penrith and the region. • A landmark structure that is unique, innovative, social and sculptural. • A bridge with a 200m clear span, making it Australia’s longest span pedestrian bridge.

  • The vision was to make the bridge a destination in itself rather than just a crossing point. After a thorough analysis of the surrounding landscape, the developed bridge concept is playful and invites visitors to experience the river from a variety of vantage points. The spaces have been designed for people to meet, linger, and contemplate in. The architectural design makes reference to the nearby historic steel bridges, creating a dialogue between various epochs of bridge construction. The form language of the piers subtly relates to the Victoria Bridge, whilst solving a complex geometrical challenge to minimise afflux upriver. The bridge balustrades echo a row boat with the timbers representing the hull of a boat to make reference to the rowing course below. The upper portion of the balustrade is executed in steel cable to reflect a maritime character and maximise views to the river. An infrastructure project for the community to engage with the river, a platform for social events allowing the community to celebrate the river, for rowing races and festivals etc. whilst also accommodating passive and active recreation. Its design underpins the community’s and Council’s aspirations and creates a new landmark.