Department of Infrastructure Transport
Drawing contextual inspiration for the Northern Connector from the indigenous nature of Barker’s Inlet, market gardens, salt pans and crystalline forms as well as the nature and habitat of migratory bird species that utilise the wetlands.
The Northern Connector Project delivers high quality transport infrastructure with integrated urban design outcomes, acting as an important transition between the rural character of the northern suburbs and the more urban character of the surrounding suburbs and commercial area by celebrating its local character and the significant environmental setting of Barker Inlet.
The Northern Connector Project creates enhanced environmental outcomes, through degraded land being reinstated into intertidal wetlands, that contributes to future sustainability of the Barker Inlet wetlands and a series of linked landscapes and swales adding to the ecological diversity of the site providing valuable wildlife corridors. This is integrated with a cultural layering of pre-European history into the landscape treatments and outcomes for the environmentally significant areas.
As both the Urban and Landscape designers for bridge, active transport networks and landscape integration, we drew contextual inspiration for the Northern Connector design from the indigenous nature of Barker’s Inlet, the surrounding, market gardens, salt pans and crystalline forms as well as the nature and habitat of the RAMSAR listed migratory bird species that utilise the wetlands.
These are represented in the forms of the bridges, the abutment walls, screens and indigenous planting palette to provide habitat connections along the $867 million, 15.5 km, Northern Connector. The motorway itself, is a six-lane freeway with an integrated active transport SUP along its full length, that provides the missing vital freight and commuter link between the Northern Expressway, South Road Superway and Port River Expressway.
The alignment of the Northern Connector shared use path joins the Stuart O’Grady Bikeway, providing a dedicated cycle & pedestrian path linking pedestrians & cyclists from metropolitan Adelaide via on-road cycleways from the Outer Harbor Greenway system to the Southern Interchange all the way to Gawler.
The planting along the Northern Connector provides quality landscape outcomes which are subtle and responsive to existing landscapes, complementing and merging with the patterning of the local agricultural, coastal and intertidal landscapes. Landscape planting reflects and reinforces existing vegetation patterns providing occasional points of emphasis and opportunities to take in views, creating an experience of progression while moving through the discrete landscapes of the project area.
The planting strategy was structured to reflect key existing and new landscape characters including:
- Key Nodes and Interchanges
- Southern Estuarine Environment and Salt Pans
- Biodiversity and Drainage
- Barker Inlet and Mangroves
Bridge structures and overpasses create distinct locations throughout the corridor which define a sense of place highlighting arrival points for Adelaide along the Northern Connector. Bridge 3.
The angular forms of the salt pans and the microscopic crystal salt formations were the basis of the Urban design retaining walls, piers, parapets, anti-throw screens, noise walls and paving. The curved aerodynamic gateway bridge design was based on the wing of the shorebirds which inhabit the Barker Inlet and surrounding wetlands.