The Tasmanian and Federal Government’s new Bridgewater Bridge Project has reached a major milestone, with tenders received for the design and construction of the $576 million project.

Bids have been received from CPB Contractors and McConnell Dowell Constructors, which started a competitive Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) design process in December 2020 and have been working with the Tasmanian Government to develop their designs and tender for the project.

The new bridge will boast increased size and load capacity and a higher speed limit, strengthen Tasmania’s National Highway and boost productivity on one of the state’s most important freight routes.

Major construction is set to start in mid-2022, with work to date 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 in late 2021, with planning approval expected to be received early 2022. 

The new Bridgewater Bridge is one of the biggest projects in Tasmanian history, with two of Australia’s biggest construction companies to use their specialist knowledge and expertise to design a bridge that will deliver the best outcomes for Tasmania.

With the two ECI proposals received, the Tasmanian Government will engage a preferred tenderer by the end of 2021 and the community will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the chosen design before construction starts.

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. 

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.

As the first project to be declared under the state’s 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.

The coordinated assessment and approvals processes allowed through the Major Project status is an important step in the project to ensure the appropriate checks and balances are in place and construction isn’t delayed. 

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.

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.

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