Bridge to be fixed by Christmas… next year

A CONTRACTOR has been appointed to repair the Bridgewater Bridge. Federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Anthony Albanese last week said a $14 million upgrade of the historic bridge would be started in October by McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia).

This news was welcomed by the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams MHR, who said completion of the federally-funded project was expected around December 2010. “Once complete, the lifting system of the bridge will once again allow boats, yachts and the ferries to pass under the bridge,” Mr Adams said.

“It has been over three years since the Bridgewater Bridge lifting mechanism has been able to be used. The restoration of this mechanism will allow river users to once again take advantage of the beautiful Derwent River. “Vessels from outside the Derwent Valley will again be able to access the upper reaches of the Derwent. This will open up many opportunities for the Derwent Valley and New Norfolk in particular. There is the potential here to open up new tourism opportunities in the Derwent Valley with increased access to the river”, Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams said the Bridgewater Bridge project would support up to 80 jobs during the construction phase, with the potential for more jobs to be created in the Derwent Valley if tourism operators became involved in a greater use of the river.

State Infrastructure Minister 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.”

Mr Albanese said planning was continuing for a future replacement for the Bridgewater Bridge.

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