Dave’s ready for a noisy time

“We knew it was coming,” says Dave Roberts. “The new one, it just had to happen. So we’ve been prepared for a long time.”

Dave Roberts is talking about a very large concrete bridge that’s about to land on his Bridgewater doorstep.

He and his wife Sally are on Nielsen Esplanade, the waterfront street that runs along the downstream side of the old bridge.

The new three-quarter-billion dollar version will be closer, larger and higher.

Still, Dave and Sally are unfazed.  

Much of that, Dave says, is because “the bridge people, their community liaison staff, have been very good at keeping us updated about what’s happening.

“We get regular emails, phone calls and updates about what’s going on now, what’s going to happen next and so on,” he told me.

“It really gives us confidence about the new bridge and this little community.”   

Dave has already made himself familiar with the detail on how the construction work and the use of precision GPS readings to determine the exact site of piers.

After more than 15 years (Sally’s been in the house longer, since 1983) he has a particular affection for this place, and a little runabout he could bring up to a wharf literally across the road.

Well, not all the time, he adds. “When the Derwent is in full flow, what we call ‘washing machine’ mode, a lot of water moving quickly through here, you can’t dock a small-engined boat.”   

Large-scale construction noise hasn’t started yet.

Soon it’ll be a 25-tonne hydraulic hammer pounding piers into the river bottom, just across the water from his front door. And Dave knows already that the noise is only going to get louder. 

“Just wait until its big brother arrives for the permanent bridge,” he laughs. “Oh well!”