Billion dollar bridge

Artist’s impression of the new bridge

THE new Bridgewater Bridge will cost about a billion dollars by the time it is built in about a decade’s time, Derwent Valley councillors were told last night. A representative of the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) provided this update at the first councillor workshop of the year.

Following the most recent round of consultation, seven design principles for the new crossing of the Derwent River at Bridgewater have been determined. It is still proposed to build the new bridge alongside the existing heritage-listed crossing. The design principles are:

  1. The new crossing will provide a standard of service consistent with the Brooker Highway and Brighton Bypass (four lanes of traffic and a design speed of 110km/h)
  2. Height/airdraft at the navigation span at the Bowen Bridge should be maintained at Bridgewater (18m)
  3. The rail corridor will be retained across the river at Bridgewater (on the old bridge – the new bridge will have a rail “corridor” for future use but no actual railway lines)
  4. The design and construction will have the least possible impact on the community and its environment and will explore opportunities such as maximising the “Gateway to Hobart” concept
  5. Transport connectivity and functionality should be maintained, recognising the strategic importance of efficient and effective movement to/from the Lyell Highway
  6. Pedestrians and cyclists to be accommodated (on the new bridge)
  7. The design process is transparent, timely and accessible

A recent design change saw the inclusion of a two-lane on-ramp from the Lyell Highway. Two lanes will allow trucks to climb the steep grade up to the bridge without delaying smaller and faster vehicles.  

    Last night’s briefing to the Derwent Valley Council was the final stage of the current phase of community consultation.  The State Government will now make an application to the Federal Government for about $16 million to progress the project by securing the corridor (property aquisition) and completing a “reference design”. The current plans are described as a “concept design”.

    Councillors heard that it would cost about $500 million in today’s prices to construct the new bridge to the proposed design, but by the time the bridge was built in about 10 years time the cost would be about a billion dollars.

    The latest plans will be on display for three weeks from January 9 at the Derwent Valley Council Chambers and in the windows at the former Valley Vision office in High St.

    An artist’s impression of the new bridge alongside the existing causeway

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