The awarding of a design contract marks an important step toward a new two-lane bridge across the Clutha River on State Highway 8, at Beaumont in Otago, says NZ Transport Agency Projects Team Manager Simon Underwood.
The existing 134 year-old single lane bridge, one of the oldest on the highway network, and a critical link on SH8 between Milton and Roxburgh in Central Otago, is nearing the end of its economic life.
In December 2016 the Transport Agency gathered community feedback on potential alignment options for a new two-lane bridge.
The input from Beaumont residents around the future alignment of a new bridge was invaluable, says Mr Underwood.
“Having this direct engagement with the local community gave the project team some great insights into residents’ views, preferences and concerns. It also provided a good understanding of the local history and an appreciation of the huge role the current bridge has played in shaping this area.”
Mr Underwood says the new bridge would be immediately downstream of the existing one, but on an alignment that enables the highway to remain in front of the Beaumont Hotel – something strongly favoured by the local community. The community also made it clear they wanted to see the existing bridge remain where it is, to provide a heritage link over the river to the Clutha Gold walking and cycle Trail.
With the award of the design contract to WSP-Opus, work can now start on developing the detailed design, further community engagement and consenting processes. The first step is geotechnical testing to understand ground conditions as well as further land surveys. WSP-Opus will initially be approaching landowners concerned, ahead of wider community engagement on the new bridge design.
Depending on the timing and outcome of this design phase, and subject to construction funding approval, this $20 million project could be underway by the second half of 2020. The design and supervision of construction contract is worth $1.8 million.