Bolte Bridge is a Melbourne landmark and the largest balanced cantilever cast in situ box girder bridge in Australia. It was designed by Denton Corker Marshall and constructed for Transurban by Baulderstone Hornibrook to link Melbourne’s West Gate, Monash and Tullamarine Freeways. The bridge has two main spans of 173 metres and two side spans of 72 metres extending an additional 430m to the south and 4080 metres to the north. The overall bridge length of 5000 metres places it amongst the longest bridges in Australia.
In late 2017 Ronstan Tensile Architecture was engaged by Lendlease Services to supply and install a safety barrier system spanning approximately 550m along each side of the bridge where it crossed the Yarra River. The system itself is comprised of 246 modular hot dipped galvanized frames, each filled with Ronstan Carl Stahl X-Tend® Stainless Steel Mesh of 2.0mm diameter wire formed into a 70mm mesh aperture.
The entire project was fast-tracked for manufacture with installation completed in three just weeks prior to Christmas 2017. Lendlease Services engaged Tensys Engineers to work in collaboration with Ronstan and other project stakeholders to design a tensioned mesh structure that would provide a functional safety barrier while conforming to strict structural and architectural parameters.
The result is an elegant solution that resolves the tension forces of the mesh within the frames, poses no additional loads onto the bridge other than the self-weight of the panels and the impact of wind. At the same time the safety barrier maintains a transparency that ensures the panels have little impact on views of the bridge from afar and within.