Civil infrastructure news, Earthmoving News, McConnell Dowell, Tasmania

Major construction ramps up on $786M New Bridgewater Bridge

Aerial photo of the New Bridgewater Bridge in its early stages, next to the existing bridge

Major construction is underway on Tasmania’s largest ever transport infrastructure project – the New Bridgewater Bridge – with important pieces of the project’s temporary bridge arriving on site.

The $786 million project is jointly funded by the Federal and Tasmanian governments, which have committed $628.8 million and  $157.2 million respectively.

“After all of the years of planning it is great to have moved into the major construction stage of the project, it means we’ll soon see the new bridge rise before our eyes,” said Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff pictured with a group of government ministers and Bridgewater Bridge Project team members.
L-R: McConnell Dowell Construction Manager Ed McPhillips, Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson, Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Federal Assistant Infrastructure Minister Carol Brown, Federal Lyons MP Brian Mitchell, Tasmanian Member of the Legislative Council Jane Howlett, Department of State Growth Project Director Ben Moloney, and McConnell Dowell Project Director Peter Fraser.

“Having been out to the site many times over the years, all of the activity happening right now is really exciting for not only locals but anyone that travels the north-south route up the middle of the state.

“We’re not on the home stretch as yet but we’re certainly rounding the bend with the finish line coming into view.”

Once complete, the new bridge is expected to form the missing link in Tasmania’s National Highway, removing the bottlenecks at each end of the bridge – particularly during peak travel times.

New, free-flowing interchanges will also be built at Bridgewater and Granton, improving travel between the Brooker, Lyell, and Midland highways.

The first six of 12 barges have arrived at the project site and will be floated into place and settled on the mudflats adjacent to the causeway.

The remaining six barges are due to arrive in early May and will then be linked to a temporary steel-framed bridge built from the Bridgewater foreshore across the Derwent, from which the new bridge will be constructed.

This temporary bridge will provide equipment such as large cranes and construction vehicles access across the river to build the new bridge’s foundations and structure, without interrupting traffic on the existing Bridgewater Bridge.

Map showing the footprint for the New Bridgewater Bridge
Image courtesy of the Tasmanian Department of State Growth.

The project will support 250 direct and 800 indirect jobs, with a target of four per cent of the workforce to come under the project’s Indigenous Participation Plan.

Construction contractor McConnell Dowell has placed an emphasis on skill development and pathway opportunities to introduce new people to the industry.

This includes through the recently completed pre-employment program that saw 50 job-seekers new to the construction industry fast-track their knowledge base and prepare for employment on the project.

Several of these participants have already secured work directly on the project, while others will be employed in the project’s purpose-built pre-cast concrete production facility in Bridgewater.

“I’m thrilled to see major construction start on the New Bridgewater Bride, which is going to make a real difference to how local communities, freight and visitors get around,” said Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.

“This project places a critical focus on creating jobs, upskilling workers, and supporting Tasmanian industry, with a number of local businesses already engaged on works.

“Around 85 per cent of construction is expected to be delivered by employing locals and through subcontract agreements with Tasmanian businesses, which are recruiting extra capacity into their organisations thanks to this transformational project.”

The Federal and Tasmanian governments are committed to having the new bridge open to traffic by the end of 2024, with the project to be completed in 2025.

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