Bridge cash praise

Bridge­wa­ter money wel­comed by Evans

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID BE­NIUK

DER­WENT Val­ley Mayor Mar­tyn Evans wel­comed fund­ing for a new Bridge­wa­ter bridge in last week’s Bud­get af­ter a decade of empty prom­ises.

“It is pleas­ing to see the fund­ing al­lo­cated state and fed­er­ally,” he said.

“Now they can get on with the job of fix­ing a very much fail­ing piece of in­fra­struc­ture.”

The Hodg­man Gov­ern­ment agreed to com­mit $115 mil­lion to­wards the long- awaited ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject, meet­ing 20 per cent of the $576 mil­lion price tag.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull made a Bud­get day whistlestop to spruik the new bridge late last week af­ter his Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted $461 mil­lion in the May Fed­eral Bud­get.

“[It is] long talked about, promised be­fore, but it is now go­ing to be de­liv­ered and all the money is on the ta­ble to do it,” Mr Turn­bull said.

Prime Min­is­ter Turn­bull said the crossing would ben­e­fit 22,000 mo­torists each day and com­ple­ment im­prove­ments to the Mid­land High­way.

Cr Evans said the up­dated in­fra­struc­ture would re­duce bot­tle-neck­ing and ac­ti­vate the Der­went Val­ley river cor­ri­dor for tourism and sus­tain­able trans­port.

“It can be 25-30 min­utes of an af­ter­noon stuck in traf­fic to get back to New Nor­folk.”

The Bud­get in­cludes $6 mil­lion of joint fund­ing in 2018-19 to get a pro­ject team started on the de­sign.

“This means that Tas­ma­ni­ans will have a new, state-ofthe-art, four-lane Bridge­wa­ter Bridge,” Mr Hodg­man said.

“An ex­pert pro­ject team is now be­ing as­sem­bled and pens will hit paper as part of the de­tailed de­sign work as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Cr Evans hoped the plans ad­hered to the height agreed on by lo­cal coun­cils and past Gov­ern­ments of 16.4m — the same as the Bowen Bridge.

“I’d hate to be hood­winked and think that this bridge is not go­ing to en­able the same boat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, whether its tourism, recre­ational or sus­tain­able trans­port,” he said.

“This is a pro­ject of na­tional and state sig­nif­i­cance and the sin­gle biggest bridge pro­ject in Tas­ma­nia’s his­tory since 1984, when the Bowen Bridge was opened,” Mr Hodg­man said

Both bud­gets com­bined will in­clude a to­tal of $121 mil­lion over the next four years for the bridge. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin in 2021-22 and be com­pleted in 2024.

“This in­vest­ment will en­sure we keep pace with the de­mands of our grow­ing state and de­liver the in­fra­struc­ture Tas­ma­ni­ans need to­day, and into the fu­ture,” Mr Gutwein said.

The State Gov­ern­ment en­dorsed an In­fra­struc­ture Tas­ma­nia re­port rec­om­mend­ing fund­ing be sought for a re­place­ment bridge in 2016.

In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia ac­cepted the pro­ject as be­ing of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance be­fore this year’s Fed­eral Bud­get.

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