New Zealand will call for tenders “in the coming weeks” to replace one of the country’s last wrought iron road bridges.
The single-lane Beaumont Bridge that carries the SH8 highway over the Clutha River, near Beaumont, was built in 1887.
“It forms an important link on SH8 connecting Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown,” said Colin MacKay, regional manager central and lower South Island for Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency. “A new two-lane bridge is needed as the existing bridge is no longer suited to today’s higher traffic volumes and the heavier trucks now using this route.”
He said construction funding for the project is in place “and plans are well advanced to call [for] tenders in the coming weeks to build this long-awaited new two-lane bridge”. Cost is expected to be around NZ$20 million (US$14.5 million) and construction likely take around two years.
The new bridge which will meet seismic standards and be built downstream of the historic bridge that will be maintained as a pedestrian and cyclist crossing providing a link to the popular nearby Clutha Gold walking and cycling trail.
According to agency information, the new 195m-long curved steel girder bridge will be supported by four piers, the central one located on a prominent rocky out-crop within the riverbed. The deck will sit about 12m above the average river level. Safety barriers will be fitted on the road approaches.
Meanwhile, a 2m-wide path will be provided over the new bridge for pedestrians as an alternative option to using the historic bridge.