North-West and West Coast road and bridge investments

Michael Ferguson,Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is delivering for all Tasmanians as we continue to strengthen our economy by building the infrastructure that our growing State needs.

Funding for roads and bridges in the 2022-23 Budget and forward estimates will increase to a massive $2.7 billion (up from $2 billion last year).

This huge funding boost includes the largest transport infrastructure project in Tasmanian history – the $786 million new Bridgewater Bridge – co-funded by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments.

Other co-funded major projects include:

  • the continuation of the $565 million Midland Highway Action Plan;
  • the $350 million South-East Traffic Solution between Sorell and Hobart;
  • the $120 million project to improve the Sideling section of the Tasman Highway between Scottsdale and Launceston; and
  • $280 million in works on the Bass Highway between Launceston and Marrawah.

The co-funding represents an unprecedented investment in Tasmania’s road and bridge infrastructure following a record $317 million investment in 2020-21 and a new record spend to be out the door in the current financial year.

The Liberal Government’s expenditure in 2020-21 alone was 245 per cent more than the last full year of the former Labor-Green Government just eight years before.

Bass Highway Action Plan ($280m)

A major program of works is well underway on the Bass Highway between Wynyard and Marrawah to improve safety and efficiency for this crucial link.

The upgrades address identified safety risks, reducing the potential for crashes. They will also improve travel time, and support growth by providing a quality transport corridor. They include new overtaking lanes, junction upgrades, road widening and safety improvements.

This section of the Bass Highway is a key link for freight, tourism and people movement between the far north west of Tasmania and the key ports of Burnie and Devonport and further to Launceston and Hobart.

On average, more than 5,000 vehicles travel on this section of the highway each day, of which 14.8 per cent are heavy vehicles.

Completed projects include junction upgrades at Gates Road, Myalla Road, and Mella Road, and construction of overtaking lanes near Monateric Road and Dallas Road.

A further two projects are scheduled to start this year. These include the realignment of the highway between Baulds Road and Tollymore Road at Table Cape, which will start soon; and upgrading the Dunn Street junction at Crayfish Creek.

The construction of safety improvements at Togari continues, including shoulder widening and road rehabilitation between Paceys Road and Salmon River Road, upgrades to the junctions of the Bass Highway with Paceys Road, Parks Road and Salmon River Road and replacement of the Montagu River Bridge.

Meanwhile, work has recently started on the realignment of the Bass Highway between Siding Road at Boat Harbour and Broomhills Road at Sisters Creek and safety upgrades to the junction of the Bass Highway and Morris Road.

Medium priority projects identified in the corridor study for investigation and delivery commencing late 2023 include a further 35 Junction Improvements.

Also under the Bass Highway Action Plan, the Cam River Bridge will also be replaced under an $18.8 million contract awarded to Tasmanian company VEC Civil Engineering.

Previous planning identified safety and traffic delays as major concerns of people using the Bass Highway between Cooee and Wynyard.

The new bridge will be higher, reducing the risk posed by floods, and, through wider lanes, a cycle lane and a pedestrian pathway will provide more room for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The wider lanes will also make it easier to keep traffic moving in the event of a crash or vehicle breakdown on the bridge.

The project also includes the installation of traffic signals at the junction of the Murchison and Bass Highways, which will improve traffic flow. The Murchison Highway is a heavy vehicle route and signals will allow heavy vehicles to enter the Bass Highway more safely.

Construction will start in the coming months and be completed in early 2024.

West Coast (Lyell, Zeehan and Murchison Highways) – $50.1m

More than $50 million has been committed to improvements to our key highways links to the productive West Coast region including the Lyell, Zeehan and Murchison Highways.

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