CONSTRUCTION of the $576 million new Bridgewater Bridge is a step closer with the agreed tenderer understood to have been agreed on.
The Gazette understands McConnell Dowell Constructors will soon be announced the successful bidder.
Bids were received from two major construction companies earlier this year and each developed designs for the project.
With increased size and load capacity and a higher speed limit, the new bridge is designed to strengthen Tasmania’s National Highway and boost productivity on one of the state’s most important freight routes.
It is understood the Department of State Growth is currently undergoing due diligence and an announcement will be made in December.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson was tight lipped, but the Gazette understands the decision has been made.
Mr Ferguson said the tender would ensure local companies had an opportunity to participate.
“I’m delighted to indicate today that by working hard and keeping our teams on task, all timing milestones have been met with the Bridgewater Bridge,’’ Mr Ferguson said.
“This is a mammoth effort and everyone I’ve been working with has been disciplined and focused.
“Also, I can’t reveal details just yet, but I can say that the Derwent Valley community will be a big winner from the largest single infrastructure investment in Tasmanian history.
“While the tenderers are both interstate Tier 1 companies, there will be multiple opportunities for local industry to be involved, bringing local knowledge and expertise to the bridge project under the Government’s Buy Local policy.
“Planning approval is expected in early 2022.”
Mr Ferguson said the tender process had been innovative.
“The two companies have worked with the Department of State Growth to refine their designs and develop tenders, which were submitted in mid-August as they compete for the honour to be the contractor,” Mr Ferguson said.
“This process is now in the exciting final stages and the Government is on track to meet our timeline to enter into a final agreement with the successful tenderer by the end of this calendar year with hard construction to start in mid-2022.
“The tender is not awarded until that agreement is made.’’
Major construction is expected to start by the middle of next year and the new bridge will be open to traffic by the end of 2024