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About 60 people attended the ceremony, which marks the formal start of construction on the three-year, $25 million project to replace the existing 137-year-old single-lane bridge.
Mr Caygill said work on the new, two-lane bridge would begin in the new year.
‘‘The existing bridge is no longer suited to today’s higher traffic volumes, or the larger and heavier trucks reliant upon this key freight route through to Central Otago.
‘‘The new bridge will meet the current and future needs of the businesses and communities who depend on this highway, and safely connect people, products and places,’’ he said.
Mr Cadogan praised the NZTA’s commitment to the project.
“Our council was pleased to have been a conduit for community feedback, through the consents process, on the location of the new bridge, and on preserving the alignment of State Highway 8, which will continue to run in front of the Beaumont Hotel.’’