Project introduction

This project involves replacing the current single lane bridge across the Clutha River – Mata-Au on SH8 at Beaumont with a modern two-lane structure, just downstream of the existing bridge allowing the highway to stay in front of the local Hotel – something strongly favoured by the local community.

  • Estimated project cost

    $32 million
  • Project type

    Bridge replacement
  • Project status



The current single lane single bridge built in 1887, is one of a handful  of wrought iron bridges left on our highway network. It provides an important link over the Clutha River – Mata-Au on SH8 connecting Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown.

A new two-lane bridge is needed as the existing single lane bridge is no longer suited to today’s higher traffic volumes and the heavier trucks now using this route. Traffic signals were introduced several years ago a measure to reduce stress on the wrought iron truss structure, by lowering vehicle speeds over the bridge.

A new two-lane bridge will be designed to handle current and expected traffic growth, including heavier trucks; and meet current earthquake standards. The historic bridge will remain after the new one opens to provide a link to the popular Clutha Gold walking and cycling trail.

A modern new bridge on SH8 over the Clutha River – Mata-Au at Beaumont, will support a transport system for Otago that’s safe, resilient, meets current and future needs, and connects people, products and places.

We plan to have traffic using the new bridge by the last quarter of 2023. Weather and other delays could push this date out. Other on-site work will continue for a few months after the opening including applying a second coat seal to the new bridge traffic lanes. 

Project benefits

  • Improved resilience, accessibility and safety on a critical road link between Dunedin and Central Otago.
  • Ensure the safer and more efficient movement of freight to and from Central Otago. As an example, this route is used to transport aviation fuel to Queenstown airport.
  • Contribute to a land transport system for Otago that’s safer and easier for people to use.
  • Ensure safe reliable and resilient access to remote communities and farms, forestry and tourism, all vital to the economic growth and prosperity of the region.
  • Eliminate delays experienced on the current single lane bridge where vehicle flows are managed by traffic signals.
  • Save money being used to fund an on-going maintenance programme that’s currently in place at the existing single lane bridge.

Key features of the project

  • Overall the highway works will extend from the SH8 / Westferry Rd intersection to the Lowburn Bridge, a distance of 1.3km.
  • The new bridge will be nearly 190m long, that’s about the length of two rugby fields, feature two traffic lanes, and cater for pedestrians.
  • It will sit slightly higher above the river than the existing bridge; with the bridge carriageway a little higher again as the new deck will sit on, rather than within, the bridge structure.
  • The Clutha Gold Trail will pass below the new highway, with a link across the river via the existing single lane bridge.
  • As it does now, SH8 will continue to pass in front of the local hotel, with Dee St upgraded to form part of the main route between Balclutha and the highway at Beaumont. Existing linkages to the highway from Westferry Rd and Rongahere Rd will be closed.