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New Bridgewater Bridge Project

FAQs

Why does the Bridgewater Bridge need replacing?

The crossing of the Derwent River between Bridgewater and Granton has a long history. Work to build the causeway started in 1830 and the first bridge connecting the causeway and Bridgewater opened in 1848. The existing Bridgewater Bridge opened in 1946. It’s now 75 years old and reaching the end of its life. It’s becoming unsafe, unreliable and expensive to maintain.

How much will the new bridge cost?

The Australian and Tasmanian governments have committed $576 million to build the new Bridgewater Bridge as part of the Hobart City Deal.

What are the benefits of the Project?

Building a new bridge will mean:

  • people travelling on the bridge are safer
  • there will be less congestion
  • local communities will be better connected
  • there will be more local open space
  • travel times will be more reliable and consistent
  • heavy vehicles will be more efficient and can better support the freight industry
  • cyclists and pedestrians will have safer routes
  • there will be better river access for boats
  • bus transport will be improved
  • less ongoing maintenance costs.

When will construction start and how long will it take?

Construction is due to start in mid-2022 and there will be traffic on the new bridge by the end of 2024.

Building a new bridge has been talked about for a long time. Why has it taken so long?

Planning to replace the Bridgewater Bridge started more than 20 years ago, with many different designs and plans developed over that time. In 2018, the Australian and Tasmanian governments announced $576 million to build a new Bridgewater Bridge. Detailed planning started soon after, including site investigations and community consultation.

We’re now on our way to delivering the state’s largest transport infrastructure project by the end of 2024.

How will traffic be impacted during construction?

Building a new Bridgewater Bridge is one of the largest projects in Tasmania’s history and there will be disruptions during the project.

We will know more about the impacts once we engage a preferred tenderer at the end of the year

To keep up to date on current disruptions, visit our disruptions page or subscribe to our regular e-newsletter.

Will the existing Bridgewater Bridge be removed?

The existing Bridgewater Bridge was built in 1946 and is the fourth bridge at this site.

Because of the poor condition and growing cost of maintaining the existing bridge, we’re seeking approval as part of the project to remove it once it’s no longer needed.

Many people have a strong connection to the bridge so we’ll be working with the community and the Tasmanian Heritage Council to look at how we can recognise and promote the heritage values of the river crossing and its previous four bridges.

The causeway will be retained.

How will the heritage values of the area be preserved if the bridge is removed?

The Derwent River crossing at Bridgewater is an area with important historic cultural heritage sites and values. The area has a rich heritage that spans back well before the existing bridge was built. As part of the Project, the substantial local heritage, including other historic sites in the area, will be promoted and the history made more accessible to Tasmanians and visitors alike.

What are the environmental impacts of the New Bridgewater Bridge Project?

Environmental impacts have previously been assessed as low and manageable. We have done extensive survey work to help inform the Major Project Impact Statement as part of the planning and environmental approvals process. While the project will have an impact on the various environmental factors, including the terrestrial and marine environment, appropriate controls will be put in place during construction to mitigate environmental impacts as par as practical. Additional activities, such as landscaping works, will be completed to reinstate disturbed areas.

Will there be Aboriginal Heritage impacts?

Aboriginal Heritage investigations have shown that there was a relatively low likelihood of disturbance of known Aboriginal heritage sites. Further survey work is underway to confirm the presence and location of Aboriginal heritage sites.

How will the Project impacts be assessed?

Before work can start, the project needs to secure a number of planning and environmental approvals. Because of the size, scale and cost of the project, it is being assessed using Tasmania’s new Major Projects assessment pathway as part of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

Using the Major Projects pathway means that a coordinated assessment of many different approvals can happen at the same time. This includes land use planning, environmental impacts, Aboriginal heritage, historic cultural heritage, TasWater, threatened species and gas pipeline safety.

The Tasmanian Minister for Planning declared the project to be a Major Project in December 2020.

After obtaining input from relevant regulators and public exhibition of draft criteria, the Development Assessment Panel finalised the Assessment Criteria for the project in May 2021.

The project team is now preparing a Major Project Impact Statement to respond to the Assessment Criteria set out by the Development Assessment Panel.

As well as the Major Project Permit, the project also needs a Parks and Wildlife Service Works Authority for the work that we will be doing in the Derwent River. Development Applications with local councils may also be needed for minor works outside the Project Area declared for the Major Project Permit.

How can the impacts be assessed when a design hasn’t been finalised?

Investigations including detailed geotechnical, environmental and heritage investigations deliberately targeted a broad footprint in order to capture a wide range of potential impacts. Investigations are continuing based on the project’s reference design and declared project area, and will be refined again once a design is finalised. These investigations include Aboriginal heritage, historic cultural heritage, socio-economics, visual impact, existing noise, flora and fauna noise and traffic impacts.

What are the Project’s design requirements?

In mid-2020, the Tasmanian Government agreed on a set of design requirements that must be incorporated into the design for the New Bridgewater Bridge.

  • A new river crossing between the Brooker Highway and Midland Highway, including connections to the Lyell Highway.
  • A minimum design speed of 80km/h.
  • Two lanes in each direction.
  • Grade separation of the Lyell Highway Junction at Granton and Black Snake Lane at Granton.
  • A minimum airdraft clearance consistent with the navigable clearance under the Bowen Bridge.
  • A shared path for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Throw screens and safety barriers.

A design that doesn’t preclude the future use of the existing rail corridor

Has a design for the new bridge been finalised?

No. Because we aren’t experts in building bridges of this size and scale, we have asked the construction industry for early input about the design.

This is so that we can adopt the most efficient and cost effective way of designing and building the bridge and interchanges.

A reference design showing what may be built to meet the Project’s design requirements within budget was released for public consultation in October 2020. The reference design aims to give the community a realistic view of what the new bridge and interchanges might look like and was developed to:

  • - Seek feedback from the community and stakeholders;
  • - Incorporate into funding submissions; and
  • - Transfer information from the community to the ECI tenderers.

Feedback received during the consultation period has been provided to the two tenderers as they continue to develop their design.

The community will have an opportunity to have a say on the final design before construction starts in 2022.

How is the project being procured?

The Tasmanian Government has chosen to use a competitive Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) procurement process. In late 2020, CPB Contractors and McConnell Dowell Constructors were awarded ECI Agreements and have been working collaboratively with the Department to refine and develop their individual tenders for the design and construction of the project.

Tenders are due to be submitted in August and a preferred tenderer will be engagement by the end of 2021.

Will there be facilities for pedestrians and cyclists?

Pedestrians and cyclists have been given a high priority and the new bridge will include a three-metre wide shared path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Will boats be able to travel under the new bridge?

Yes, the navigation clearance will be consistent with the Bowen Bridge. There is likely to be some disruption to navigation during construction.

Will there be rail on the new bridge?

Rail isn’t part of the project but we will make sure that the future use of the rail corridor isn’t prevented.

Including rail as part of the Project isn’t as simple as attaching train lines onto the side of the new bridge. Trains need alignments with shallower slopes, wider curves and different load capacities than roads that are built for cars and trucks.

What will the speed limit be?

The speed limit will be at least 80km/h.

Will Tasmanian companies be used to build the new bridge?

Because of the size and scale of the project, no Tasmanian construction companies were eligible to submit proposals to deliver the project. There will still be many opportunities for local businesses and suppliers to be involved in the project, which will help to bring local knowledge and expertise.

Tenderers are encouraged to use local businesses and suppliers where they can and need to develop a Tasmanian Industry Participation Plan (TIPP) as part of their tender submissions.

This will mean that interstate companies that have experience in delivering large infrastructure projects will be able to share their extensive knowledge and upskill local Tasmanian workers.

Who are the Tenderers?

We awarded ECI agreements to CPB Contractors and McConnell Dowell Constructors in late 2020. They are now working with us to develop their own designs and tenders for the project.

How has COVID-19 impacted the Project?

Infrastructure projects, such as the New Bridgewater Bridge Project, are important in stimulating employment and the local economy and ensuring that the State can continue to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can I find out more information?

If you have any questions about the project, you can call the project team on 1800 517 290 or email bridgewaterbridge@stategrowth.tas.gov.au. We send out regular information and project updates. If you would like email updates about the project, you can subscribe to our e-newsletter.