Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has picked HEB Construction for the US$17 million contract to build a new, two-lane bridge over the Clutha River at Beaumont, as part of SH8 highway in Otago.

“We are anticipating crews setting up on the new bridge site in the coming weeks with work starting on the bridge from the end of this year,” said Colin MacKay, principal project manager for Waka Kotahi. “The aim is to have this long awaited, two-lane bridge open in the second half of 2024.”

Beaumont Bridge

He said that the existing 137-year-old single-lane, wrought iron bridge is one of a handful still in use on the highway network and that it forms an important link on SH8 between Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown. “However, it’s no longer suited to today’s higher traffic volumes, and the growing number of larger trucks using this highway,” he added.

Existing Beaumont Bridge

The new bridge will be 195m long and formed by curved steel girders, supported by four piers sitting about 12m above the average river level. A 2m-wide walking and cycling pathway is a feature of the bridge design.

WSP-Opus was awarded the design contract in June 2018. The new bridge has been designed to meet expected traffic growth, including heavier trucks, and modern earthquake standards. After it opens, the existing single-lane bridge will continue to serve the area by providing a link to the nearby Clutha Gold walking and cycling trail.

“The new bridge will be a key contributor to creating a transport system for Otago and Clutha District that’s safe, resilient, meets current and future needs, and connects people, products and places,” said MacKay.