Kids’ Bridge: Realisation of a Long-held Dream

‘It’s quite playful because you don’t understand what it is, and when you do find something you get excited about telling someone else what you can see’. This is how Aboriginal artist Kamsani Bin Salleh describes his stunning mural that forms part of the Kids Bridge Project.

Dual named Koolangka Bridge, which means ‘children’ in the Noongar language, the opening of the new Kids’ Bridge realises a long-held dream to provide sick kids and their families with a chance to escape the rigours of hospital treatment.

The Kids’ Bridge, a footbridge linking Queen Elizabeth II Medical Campus with Kings Park, is far more than a piece of infrastructure. Clinicians have noted that outdoor visits have a positive effect for the overall wellbeing of sick people and their families – and the bridge will continue to provide these benefits for many generations to come.

Made possible with a $6.3 million contribution from the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and $2.3 million from Government, the three-metre wide, 217-metre long bridge provides an easy and safe crossing for inpatients, outpatients, families and medical campus staff to enjoy the beauty and nature of Kings Park.

Using an early concept by the Fratelle Group, engineers AECOM completed the detailed design of the Kids’ Bridge focusing on who would use it, as well as the environmental footprint, cost, constructability and ongoing maintenance requirements.

Western Australian company Civmec were awarded the construction contract in December 2020, under Main Roads’ management. Civmec built the 11 separate bridge segments off-site in Henderson, using 300 tonnes of locally fabricated steel and employing 40 people, then transported each segment to Nedlands, installing them over a series of weekends in April 2021.

The striking footbridge was delivered as a collaboration between Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation, Main Roads, Perth Children’s Hospital, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre Trust, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Health Service and City of Perth.

Featuring programmable coloured LED lighting on the outside of the bridge, and a sensor speaker system with the ability to play programmed acoustics, the bridge provides an opportunity for a range of therapies, including allied health, to be delivered in an environment with the wellbeing benefits of nature.

If you are interested in seeing a time-lapse of the construction process, visit our YouTube channel.