THE $14-million upgrade of the historic Bridgewater Bridge is one step closer with the recent signing of contracts.
McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) was awarded the contract to undertake construction.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese said the works would begin next month supporting up to 80 jobs during construction.
“The Bridgewater Bridge project will restore a Tasmanian icon to its former glory,” he said.
“The lifting mechanism of the bridge has been out of action for nearly three years. This project will use modern technology to restore the lifting system and allow boats and shipping vessels to pass under the bridge once again.
“The project, which includes the works currently underway at the Midland Highway/Lyell Highway junction, will help cushion the local impact of the global economic recession,” Mr Albanese said.
Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure, Graeme Sturges, asked motorists to be patient and careful when driving across the bridge during the works.
“The bridge is part of the main north-south road and rail link and the work schedule has been designed to minimise disruption for road users,” Mr Sturges said.
“Some inconvenience and lane closures will be unavoidable, but this is essential to ensure construction can be undertaken in a safe environment for both workers and motorists.”
Minister Albanese said: “The Rudd Labor Government is investing a record $800 million in road and rail infrastructure in Tasmania.
“This includes the $164-million Brighton Bypass and the $6.2-million planning of the Bagdad Bypass, and the new Bridgewater Bridge, both at the southern end of the Midland Highway.”
The bridge refurbishment is scheduled for completion in December 2010. Planning for a future replacement for the Bridgewater Bridge is underway.