Originally Published by Eliza Barr, Daily Telegraph. May 24 2016.
The long-awaited Bennelong Bridge in Homebush Bay opened on Sunday, officially reducing the distance between Rhodes and Wentworth Point from 8km to just 300m.
The privately-funded $63 million bridge will serve tens of thousands of local pedestrians and cyclists, and is the only non-car bridge on Sydney Harbour.
Wentworth Point and Rhodes residents were the first to christen the new bridge, with an inaugural cycle snake at the Family Fun Day for the bridge launch.
Wentworth Point Community Central president Bronwyn Evans said the community was thrilled about the bridge’s completion.
“The key benefit for Wentworth Point is that we will have a much easier access to trains through Rhodes station,” Ms Evans said.
Drummoyne state Liberal MP John Sidoti said the bridge was a good project that mitigated bad planning decisions from past years.
“When they converted that contaminated industrial land into residential, it wasn’t really planned properly – it’s great to have units but you need transport, roads and facilities,” Mr Sidoti said.
“Wentworth Point is a congested area with difficult access to arterial roads and the bridge gives them the opportunity not to be a part of Sydney’s congestion.”
Mr Sidoti said young families in Rhodes would also benefit from easy access to the new primary school which will open in Wentworth Point in 2017.
The bridge will accommodate 90 additional bus services on route 533 between Top Ryde City Shopping Centre and Sydney Olympic Park, and 94 more between Burwood and Sydney Olympic Park Wharf on route 526.
The bridge also has the capacity to carry light rail as an extension of the Western Sydney light rail project in the future.
“We would be delighted if the light rail were to be extended from Sydney Olympic Park down and across the bridge,” Ms Evans said.
“That would maximise the benefit of the Parramatta to Strathfield light rail, so we are campaigning for that to occur.”
Wentworth Point landowners’ spokesman Rick Graf said the Bennelong Bridge was a significant milestone for Wentworth Point and Rhodes residents.
“It will bring enormous lifestyle and economic benefits to these communities, including greater access to Sydney’s public transport network,” Mr Graf said.
“The area is now served by buses, trains and ferries, over 75km of cycleways, 450ha of public parklands, new schools and the biggest library outside the Sydney CBD.”