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Bridgewater Bridge lifting span may never open again as closure extends to 2025

Pulse Tasmania
Tugboat with barges from APPM Boyer passing under the Bridgewater Elevator bridge in 1957. Image / Libraries Tasmania Archive

The Bridgewater Bridge lifting span may never open again after the state’s road authority made the decision to keep it closed until the new bridge is built.

The existing lifting bridge span, which was completed in the 1940s, is one of the few remaining in the Southern Hemisphere and is the largest of its kind still in Australia.

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It has been out of operation since March, preventing taller vessels from heading up the Derwent River to New Norfolk for several months, and will continue to stay closed until the completion of the New Bridgewater Bridge project in 2025.

“The existing bridge is at the end of its functional life, increasing the risk of failure during operation of its lifting span, particularly while the new bridge’s foundations are being built close to it,” RoadsTas say.

The new Bridgewater bridge project. Image / Supplied

“To assist with the construction of the New Bridgewater Bridge, a temporary bridge has been built and has a clearance comparable to the existing bridge when the lift span is closed.”

They say vessels “under 2.2 metres on an average tide” will continue to be able to travel under the existing bridge without the lifting span being opened, as well as under the temporary bridge, when it is safe to do so.

The Bridgewater Bridge with the lifting span raised. Image / File

Boaties are restricted to five knots when passing through the area and cannot pass under both bridges between sunset and sunrise.

“Once complete, the New Bridgewater Bridge will include a navigation clearance consistent with the Bowen Bridge, allowing vessels to move freely past Bridgewater towards New Norfolk.”

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