Bridge cash praise
Bridgewater money welcomed by Evans
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.