Port Support for Bridgewater Bridge

There’s nothing small about Tasmania’s largest ever transport infrastructure project, including the port logistics that support the arrival of building equipment.


13 June 2023

The major construction works of the new Bridgewater Bridge north of Hobart commenced in the second half of last year, with important pieces of a temporary bridge from which the new bridge will be constructed arriving via the Port of Hobart.

The first six of 12 barges were floated into place and settled on the river bed near the causeway earlier this year.

The remaining six barges have arrived at the Port of Hobart on the Happy Star (a heavy load carrier with heavy lift cranes to lift the 100 tonne, 477 tonne and 580 tonne lightship barges) to be transferred to the Bridgewater site.

There they will be connected end-to-end and linked to a temporary steel-framed bridge that will be built from the Bridgewater foreshore across the Derwent.

The temporary bridge – that will provide a safe and sturdy platform – will allow contractors to move materials and equipment, including large cranes and construction vehicles, across the river to build the new bridge’s foundations and structure without interrupting traffic on the existing Bridgewater Bridge.

The temporary bridge will be removed once the new bridge is completed.

Deputy Harbour Master Andrew Shelverton said the operation in total was a complex one, requiring significant planning for the lay-up, cargo unloading, storage and barge transit up the Derwent River.

“The latest barges to arrive – named after contractor McConnell Dowell’s values – were between 43.5-metres-long to 55.5-metres-long,” he said.

“Because of their length (longer than 35-metres) they require a pilot on board for their transfer through the Port of Hobart, via the Tasman Bridge to the northern Port limit which is on the southern side of the Bowen Bridge where after the pilot will disembark and attached tugs assist with the remainder of the trip to the Bridgewater site.”

The new bridge – expected to be fully operational by 2025 – will be 1.3-kilometres long and cater for 22,000 daily vehicle trips. It will also feature a shared pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.

In addition to the arrival in Hobart and transit of the barges to the Bridgewater site, two additional vessels have brought into the Port of Hobart bridge support pylons. They are being stored in the Mac04 yard for transit to Bridgewater in the coming months.

Visit the Bridgewater Bridge Project website to keep up-to-date on this major project.