Construction estimating for the new Sydney Harbour Bridge project is set to be postponed for months, and will not start until at least 2018, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has confirmed.
The government’s decision comes after it had been expected to have completed the work by June, when it had originally planned to complete the work in 2019.
The delay comes as it was revealed that construction was due to start at the end of July.
But that date was later pushed back to August because of the death of a crane operator.
The company that operates the crane has said that a crane failure caused the crane to strike the concrete section of the bridge, fracturing the concrete, before hitting a pylon and tipping over onto the deck below.
The new bridge is expected to be completed by 2019, with the opening of a $20 billion interchange in 2019 and a $1 billion bridge over the Newtown River to open by 2021.
The construction site is in Newtown, north of the city.
The bridge will be the biggest construction project in Sydney’s history.
A government spokesman said that construction would be delayed because of concerns about the contractor’s safety record and the “continued risk of further damage to the bridge structure and surrounding infrastructure”.
“The Government is committed to a rapid completion of this massive project, and is working closely with the contractor to ensure that all risks are mitigated and that the project is completed safely and in a way that is acceptable to all stakeholders,” he said.
The spokesman said the delay was due in part to a change in the contract awarded to a contractor to construct the bridge.
He said the contractor had been paid $1.8 billion to finish the project.
“In this instance, it was an error on the part of the contractor that the contract had been awarded to that was not rectified,” the spokesman said.
“The contractor has been paid the full amount of the contract and will be paid a further $1,800,000 to finish this project as soon as possible.”
The Government has said it will pay the $1 million penalty.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure this work is done safely, it is the Government’s intention to pay the penalty in full as soon this is complete,” the spokesperson said.