Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Half-price bridge for Bridgewater

Concept representation of the proposed new Bridgewater Bridge,
alongside the existing structure. Not the final design and subject
to change. 
THE 70-year-old Bridgewater Bridge would be replaced by a $535 million high-level structure by the end of the decade, Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding MHA said yesterday.

Mr Hidding unveiled a revised concept for the replacement bridge, which is projected to cost about half of the estimated billion dollar price-tag of the previous design revealed in 2011.

No indication has been given as to how the two proposals differ.

"The Government has today endorsed a report from Infrastructure Tasmania to seek funding from the Federal Government for a new four-lane Bridgewater Bridge," Mr Hidding said. "This will be the most important single transport infrastructure project in the state since the Tasman Bridge was built in the 1960s."

"The current Bridgewater Bridge was built in the 1940s and requires replacement as it places height, mass and width restrictions on vehicles traveling on the Midland Highway, which is Tasmania’s key north-south road link and most important road freight corridor. The current bridge sees an average of 18,500 vehicles per day, bottle-necks traffic to two lanes, and the lifting mechanism is wearing and subject to breakdown," Mr Hidding said.

As with the previous proposal, the new bridge will be built downriver of the existing crossing. It will provide about 200 jobs during construction and will have pedestrian and cyclist facilities. Rail access will be maintained via the existing bridge.

Concept representation of the proposed Bridgewater Bridge
replacement, viewed from the Granton side. Not the final design
and subject to change.
Mr Hidding said the proposed new design was estimated to cost about $535 million but the lower price tag would not compromise either the number of lanes (four) or the clearance height (16m). "Funding for the bridge will be sought through the next five-year round of the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Investment Program. If successful, work on the project is anticipated to start in 2019-20," he said.

The new plan has been welcomed by the Federal Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson MHR, who said he had been approached by many to see the Bridgewater Bridge improved or replaced. “I really welcome this announcement. A new Bridgewater bridge will benefit all Tasmanians, everyone who drives on the Midland Highway, and especially those who live in or frequently visit communities in Brighton, the Southern Midlands and Derwent Valley," Mr Hutchinson said.

“The economic benefits are considerable. The construction will create 200 jobs and the increase in productivity cannot be underestimated. In addition, it will reduce driving times and stress for those who work or study in Hobart. “I will be working with the relevant Federal Ministers to ensure they are aware of the significance of this important project. Congratulations to the State Government for getting this back on the table.”

1 comment:

  1. How come the new 2km long bridge in China costs only $300million?

    Why isn't the new one have a mechanism installed to assist trains over it, so the old one can be removed, thus opening up the river to allow more boats to sail up the Derwent?

    At the $500 million plus price tag, sounds like the Unions and getting their workers vastly over paid!!!