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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 $786 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?

Construction will start from mid-2022.

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 funding 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 ever transport infrastructure project.

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. The design developed by the chosen contractor meets all of these requirements.

  • 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.

Who is delivering the project?

Construction company McConnell Dowell has been chosen to build the new Bridgewater Bridge.

This followed an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) process that saw McConnell Dowell and another contractor work collaboratively with the Tasmanian Government throughout 2021 to develop their own designs and tenders for the project.

McConnell Dowell is undertaking early activities including detailed design work, design specific site investigations and broader community consultation on the chosen design. This will be followed by the award of a Design and Construct contract in mid-2022.

Construction will start from mid-2022.

What is the chosen design for the new Bridgewater Bridge?

The new Bridgewater Bridge will be a four-lane bridge built downstream of the existing bridge, with new interchanges at Granton and Bridgewater and a safe shared path for cyclists and pedestrians on the upstream side of the bridge.

How does the chosen design differ from the reference design?

The chosen design will see a standalone four-lane bridge built downstream of the existing bridge, rather than re-using the causeway. On the southern side of the river at Granton, the roundabout proposed in the reference design at the intersection of Brooker Highway and Black Snake Road has been removed, allowing traffic to flow freely from the Brooker Highway onto the Lyell Highway towards New Norfolk.

A new roundabout will connect to the Black Snake Road underpass and a dedicated slip lane will allow traffic from the Lyell Highway to flow uninterrupted onto the Brooker Highway.

On the northern side of the river at Bridgewater, the chosen design includes a ramp from Boyer Road onto the new bridge for traffic travelling south, removing the need for traffic to travel back to the East Derwent Highway roundabout before travelling south.

The chosen design will include a safe shared use path on the upstream side of the bridge, allowing for better connections into the local network at each end of the bridge.

Will cyclists and pedestrians be able to use the new bridge?

Cyclists and pedestrians have been given a high priority and the new bridge will include a safe three-metre-wide shared path on the upstream side of the bridge.

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.

What will the speed limit be?

The speed limit on the new bridge will be a minimum 80km/h.

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.

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, it will be decommissioned at the completion of the project. While most of the structure will be removed, some elements will remain in place while others will be installed in the local area close to the bridge.

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 won’t be removed.

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 far 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 are the Project impacts being assessed?

Before work can start, the project needs a number of planning and environmental approvals. Because of the size, scale and cost of the project, the project was 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 allowed for the coordinated assessment of many different approvals at the same time including 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 receiving input from relevant regulators and public exhibition of draft criteria, the Development Assessment Panel finalised the Assessment Criteria for the project in May 2021.

A Major Project Impact Statement  responding to the Assessment Criteria was submitted in November 2021. The MPIS and the Panel’s initial assessment report were then publicly exhibited, and hearings were held in March 2022.

A Major Project permit was granted in May 2022.

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 many jobs will the project create?

Construction will support around 830 direct and indirect jobs, including the creation of more than 200 direct jobs for Tasmanians, delivering an important economic boost to the local economy.

Why isn’t a Tasmanian company delivering the project?

Projects of this size and scale are very rarely undertaken in Tasmania, and the State has not delivered a major bridge project since the 1980s. Because of this, no Tasmanian construction companies were eligible to submit proposals to deliver the project.

There will be many opportunities for local businesses and suppliers to be involved in the project, which will help to bring local knowledge and expertise.

Will there be opportunities for Tasmanian companies and employees to work on the project?

The contractor was required to develop a Tasmanian Industry Participation Plan (TIPP) as part of their tender submission and their approach to using local subcontractors means that Tasmanian companies and organisations will be able to benefit from things like employment, skill acquisition and other legacy benefits beyond construction.

How will traffic be impacted during construction?

Building a new Bridgewater Bridge is one of the largest projects in Tasmania’s history. As with any major construction project, there will be disruptions to the local community and the travelling public.

We will be working closely with the community to make sure these disruptions are minimal.

To keep up to date on any traffic changes, visit our current work page or subscribe to our regular e-newsletter.

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 us 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.