The existing Bridgewater Bridge does not meet contemporary loading and design standards as part of the National Land Transport Network. In its current form, the bridge provides a single lane in each direction, and has a posted speed limit of 60 km/h. The bridge’s vertical lift mechanism poses an ongoing risk of network disruption with a history of failure on lifting to allow river vessels to pass through the channel.
The existing bridge and causeway are near the end of their serviceable lives. The bridge has high maintenance costs due to its age, and future refurbishments will be increasingly costly and limited in effect.
The initiative involves the development of an alternative Derwent River crossing. This could improve safety, travel times and reliability for the 22,000 vehicles that cross the river each day, as well as potentially removing wait times for river vessels travelling under the bridge.
The business case was evaluated by Infrastructure Australia in June 2019.
The project is undergoing further planning, scheme development and assessment with support from the Australian Government and Tasmanian Government.