The $18.8 million contract for the new Cam River Bridge and junction upgrade at Somerset has been awarded to a Tasmanian company.
VEC Civil Engineering received the contract to start construction in early July 2022.
The Federal Government has committed $40 million to this $50 million jointly funded project, with the remaining $10 million funded by the Tasmanian Government.
Replacing the Cam River Bridge is a key project under the Bass Highway – Cooee to Wynyard Upgrades Program.
Previous planning identified safety and traffic delays as major concerns of people using the Bass Highway between Cooee and Wynyard.
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, said this project is an example of the Federal Government’s commitment to a suite of projects that will improve safety, traffic flow, and support active transport across Tasmania.
“These upgrades across Bass Highway are expected to improve road safety and traffic congestion, particularly providing benefits to freight transportation as a key corridor carrying heavy vehicles to and from the Circular Head municipality, the West Coast, the Port of Burnie, and beyond,” Ms King said.
Wider lanes, wider shoulders, and a pedestrian pathway will provide more room for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, and will also make it easier to keep traffic moving in the event of a crash or vehicle breakdown on the bridge.
Tasmanian Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Michael Ferguson, said the design was finalised following public consultation with locals in 2021.
“We have taken on the results of this consultation to include new landscaped areas and a pedestrian path under the bridge on the western side, linking recreation areas and a future North West Coastal Pathway,” Mr Ferguson said.
“The new bridge will also be higher, reducing the risk posed by floods.”
The project also includes new traffic signals for the junction of the Murchison and Bass Highways, which will improve traffic flow.
The Murchison Highway is a heavy vehicle route and signals will allow heavy vehicles to enter the Bass Highway more safely.
The existing bridge will be demolished after the new bridge comes into operation.
Under the program, improvement to the timing of existing traffic signals was completed in 2020, and realignment of the highway between Somerset and Wynyard is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Other planned projects include improved pedestrian crossings and a speed limit review.
Tasmanian Senator, Anne Urquhart, said, “This much needed work will make a difference to those who travel this route daily, and improve safety along this very busy stretch of road.”
Construction on the Cam River Bridge and the junction is expected to be completed in early 2024.