The Tasmanian and Federal Government’s new Bridgewater Bridge Project reached a major milestone last week, with two of Australia’s biggest construction companies submitting their tenders for the design and construction of the $576 million project.
CPB Contractors and McConnell Dowell Constructors are both competing for the project, with the two working with the Tasmanian Government since December 2020 to develop Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) designs for the project.
The reference design for the New Bridgewater Bridge, released in October last year, includes a new two lane bridge and a second two lane bridge built on the alignment of the existing bridge, creating two lanes in each direction. This includes the removal of the existing bridge.
The reference design is not the final design, and it is likely it will evolve throughout the competitive design process as contractors look for the most value for money solution, while considering community feedback.
Each tenderer has provided a Tasmanian Industry Participation Plan (TIPP) as part of their priced tenders, meaning local jobs will be at the forefront of the project, Tasmania’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson said.
“I know that the local civil construction sector is very keen to be part of this once-in-a-generation project,” he said.
“Involving Tasmanian businesses and suppliers to help build the project will ensure that the project delivers economic and social benefits to Tasmanian industry, businesses, jobs and the community.”
The new Bridgewater Bridge is one of the biggest projects in Tasmanian history and part of the Hobart City Deal. With increased size and load capacity and a higher speed limit, the new bridge will strengthen Tasmania’s National Highway and boost productivity on one of the State’s most important freight routes.
With major construction to start in mid-2022, work to date has focused on site investigations, including detailed geotechnical and survey work, environmental investigations and heritage assessments to inform a Major Project Impact Statement (MPIS).
The comprehensive MPIS will be submitted soon and will include a period of public exhibition later this year, with planning approval expected to be received early next year.
“As the first project to be declared under our Major Projects legislation due to its size, complexity and importance to the Tasmanian economy, the submission of the MPIS is a key step in realising the new Bridgewater Bridge,” Minister Ferguson said.
“The coordinated assessment and approvals processes allowed through this Major Project status is an important step in the project to ensure the appropriate checks and balances are in place and construction of this vitally important piece of infrastructure isn’t delayed by unnecessary red tape or duplication.”
Given the new Bridgewater Bridge’s Major Project status, the MPIS will be assessed by an independent expert panel, appointed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission and with expertise provided by relevant statutory regulators.
With the two ECI proposals received, the Tasmanian Government will engage a preferred tenderer by the end of the year, and the community will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the chosen design before construction starts.
The existing bridge has two lanes, a 60km/h speed limit and is load limited. The new bridge will have a minimum design speed of 80km/h and will connect the Brooker Highway and Midland Highway with four lanes, including new interchanges in Bridgewater and Granton.
The new bridge will be open to traffic by the end of 2024.
For more information, visit www.transport.tas.gov.au/newbridgewaterbridge.