17 December 2006

The University of Queensland has welcomed the opening of Australia’s first pedestrian, cycle and bus bridge, linking its St Lucia campus and Dutton Park.

Pedestrians and cyclists were able to cross the bridge for the first time at the bridge's official opening, which took place on December 17.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, AC said the bridge opened a new and much-needed corridor to the University and surrounding areas for people living on the south side of the Brisbane River.

“Eighty years ago, St Lucia was chosen as the site for establishing the University on the understanding the Brisbane City Council would agree to make the campus accessible with a bridge.

“Although the council has since provided bus and ferry services to and from UQ, the opening of the new bridge marks both the adherence to that promise and an unprecedented level of access to the campus.”

“The bridge will bring the University closer to the surrounding community, opening the campus and its facilities to people living on the south side, while observing the University’s commitment to the environment.

“And with St Lucia becoming the second largest traffic generator in the Brisbane area, with up to 40,000 people a day visiting campus at the beginning of first semester, the opening of the new bridge is particularly timely,” Professor Hay said.

“This bridge is the first step towards solving congestion in Brisbane by allowing UQ staff, students and visitors to access the St Lucia campus from the eastern and southern suburbs without having to travel into the city,” said Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman.

“Providing an alternate route and travel mode to and from UQ will result in a reduction of up to 4000 vehicle trips per day on Coronation Drive and Sir Fred Schonell Drive,” Cr Newman said.

UQ is encouraging south side residents to take advantage of the beautiful parklands, facilities and services that the campus offers.

“Our St Lucia campus has a wonderful sense of community, boasting a diverse array of cafes and eateries, first class sporting facilities and libraries, the University art gallery and a number of museums and collections which are open to the public,” Professor Hay said.

The opening was marked with a family fun day of activities and entertainment, which included the official naming of the bridge as the Eleanor Schonell bridge.

The name honours the late Dr Eleanor Schonell, who made an internationally recognised contribution to testing for dyslexia.

Dr Schonell and her husband, former UQ Vice-Chancellor, the late Sir Fred Schonell developed standardised ways to test children's academic attainment.

The tests have become the benchmark for measuring a child's literacy ability and are still used today.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248