THE State Government has released approved design requirements for the replacement Bridgewater Bridge, a positive sign of progress for this important infrastructure project.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson said the eight design requirements were broadly consistent with those determined through previous community consultation and engagement with Infrastructure Australia, and include the number of traffic lanes, road height and the inclusion of pedestrian and cycle facilities.
It was previously thought the design requirements may need to be substantially reduced in order to achieve the project budget, however, a range of possible bridge designs are capable of meeting the requirements and two high-level concept designs have been released.
The Australian and Tasmanian governments have committed $576 million to the new river crossing at Bridgewater, which is the largest ever investment in a single transport infrastructure project in Tasmania.
Mr Ferguson said the bridge replacement was a major project that would benefit Tasmanians for generations, and it was vital to get it right.
“The Bridgewater Bridge is a critical part of the transport and freight link between the state’s north and south, and the project will support growth and commercial development in Hobart’s outer northern suburbs.
“A request for proposal process will now commence. This is a major step forward for this project and will see two tenderers selected to enter a competitive design process to determine a final design and achieve the best value for the community.
“Geotechnical, environmental and heritage surveys are currently underway, and must be completed before the final design and alignment can be confirmed,” Mr Ferguson said.
Brighton Council welcomed the release of the approved design requirements.
Mayor Tony Foster said the update provided by the Minister’s update was encouraging and indicated that a fit-for-purpose replacement bridge could be constructed for the promised $576 million joint Commonwealth / State funding.
Cr Foster noted the current design requirements did not make provision for light rail although the existing rail corridor would be preserved. Undoubtedly, the desired northern suburbs light rail would need to extend to Bridgewater / Brighton to have any chance of viability.
“Nevertheless, the announcement takes us a further step forward on this major infrastructure project that will greatly benefit the Brighton Municipality as well as the rest of Tasmania.
“Brighton continues to develop rapidly and increasing traffic is causing frustration, with congestion impacting travel time reliability and delaying locals, commuters and freight vehicles.
“The construction of a new Bridgewater Bridge will significantly improve Tasmania’s vital north-south transport link, improve safety and reduce congestion for the 22,000 vehicles that travel across the bridge each day.
“The new bridge will be four lanes and the same height of the Bowen Bridge, allowing river traffic to continue. A temporary jetty will be constructed for the construction and Council will look to have this made a permanent facility for ferries and other uses.
“The Brighton Council has stressed the importance of the bridge replacements for many years and it is now gratifying that this will become a reality in 2024,” Cr Foster said.
The bridge construction contract is due to be let next year with work on the project scheduled to commence in 2022 and the opening by the end of 2024.
The design requirements and concept designs can be viewed at www.transport.tas.gov.au/newbridgewaterbridge