16 February 2023

Molonglo River Bridge construction start pushed back, but completion still expected for 2025

| Claire Fenwicke
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two women and a man standing in a paddock

Murrumbidgee MLA Marisa Paterson, Federal Infrastructure MP Catherine King and ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel announcing the successful tenderer for the Molonglo River Bridge. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

The long-awaited Molonglo River Bridge is a step closer to reality with a construction company signed on to deliver the project.

ACT Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel announced the $172.7 million contract has been awarded to BMD Construction Pty Ltd to both design and build Canberra’s largest-ever bridge infrastructure project.

Flooding closures have marred the current Coppins Crossing, and Mr Steel said he hoped the local community would be excited this project was still on track to be opened by late 2025.

“We know that this bridge is critical to ensure reliable connections through to the northern suburbs of Molonglo and to Civic and the north of Canberra,” he said.

“What this will [also] do is finally enable us to make improvements to our rapid bus network, extending it beyond the bridge to the northern part of Canberra, which will make a real difference in terms of public transport but also private vehicle users as well.”

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While detailed design work was flagged to begin in 2021 and was then adjusted to mid-2022, BMD Construction will now take part in the detailed design work throughout this year.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King was also on hand for the announcement, and she said it was important for the construction company to be involved with the detailed design process.

“This is going to be a complex site to build on,” she said.

“Having BMD actually involved actively, right the way through, into that detailed design phase means that when you get into the construction phase, a lot of those problems are already ironed out.”

Construction is scheduled to start in 2024.

“This project is on track and is expected to be delivered by the end of 2025, that’s been written into the contract with the successful tenderers.” Mr Steel promised.

“I really hope we get some good weather so we can get on with the work of constructing this bridge and the lead-in roads.”

However, it wasn’t clear who would foot the bill if the timeline blew out.

When asked by Region if this was a fixed price contract, Mr Steel was firm it was expected the bridge would open on time.

“There are a range of different pressures on the infrastructure industry at the moment, but we’re really delighted that we’ve got an experienced partner in BMD Constructions,” he said.

“We know the Molonglo community has been anticipating this bridge infrastructure project for some time, and I’m delighted that it is on track with this milestone of the contract being awarded.”

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As previously reported, the bridge will be 227.5 metres long and 23 metres high. The project will also include 1.7 km of new arterial roads leading to the bridge, five new intersections, two new bus stops, a southbound queue jump bus lane on the northern side of the bridge, off-road shared paths, on-road cycle lanes, and the capability to be upgraded to support future light rail connection.

Mr Steel said the government would work closely with the contractor to ensure Coppins Crossing stays open “as much as possible” while the new bridge is being built.

“The contractor will be using Coppins Crossing considerably, with trucks and other heavy vehicles,” he said.

The crossing will remain once the new bridge is completed as a redundancy connection to the river.

The Molonglo River Bridge is being funded as part of a 50:50 arrangement between the ACT and Federal governments.

The contract will be published online next month.

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Is this actually a bridge or a viaduct?

Capital Retro8:11 am 17 Feb 23

Umm, where are workplace and safety inspectors? Three people on a worksite and not one is wearing a HI-VIS jacket and hard hat.

Will be more of a paddock than a worksite for a while yet.

Why the delays to the detailed design in 2021/2022? This Govt has a pretty track record on delivering infrastructure projects as planned when they are first announced.

Duplication of Athllon Drive announced pre-2016 election. 6 and half years later, nothing.

Good luck getting this bridge by 2025.

BMDs design is going to be errected over the monolgo?
Canberra has never had a bridge collapse before….

Alvin Santos1:36 pm 16 Feb 23

The Butters Bridge is short distance down the river and longer too: “The Butters Bridge won the Master Builders Association 2016 Award in the National Civil / Infrastructure category. Cost $7.7m, length 242 m, 25 m above the Molonglo River, and one of ACT`s tallest and longest bridges.” source: canberra.bike

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