Northern 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.

Sideling on the Tasman Highway ($120m)

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have committed $120 million for the upgrading of the Tasman Highway from just south of the St Patricks River Bridge across the Sideling to Scottsdale.

The funding commitment is for upgrading this section of the Tasman Highway to B-Double standard, predominately involving straightening of the existing alignment, addition of passing lanes and widening of the road.

The section of the Tasman Highway known as The Sideling between Launceston and Scottsdale is well known to many Tasmanians for its challenging bends and spectacular topography.

The Dorset Council has long considered the Sideling to be a barrier to the economic prosperity of the North-East region.

Stage 1 is estimated to provide 200 direct jobs and 33 indirect jobs. It involves upgrading a 15-kilometre section of the Tasman Highway between Minstone Road and the Sideling lookout and has been divided into two sections.

Evaluation of tenders for the first section, from the Sideling lookout to Whish-Wilson Road, is currently being finalised.

Works on this section will include road widening, pavement improvements, the provision of stopping bays, drainage works and safety improvements, allowing it to accommodate B-Double trucks.

The first section is expected to be completed in 2023.

The second section of Stage 1, from the intersection of Whish-Wilson Road to the intersection of Minstone Road, is in the design stage. It is scheduled to go to tender later this year and be completed in 2024.

Illawarra Road upgrades ($80 million)

The Tasmanian and Australian Governments have committed $80 million to upgrading the Illawarra Main Road, a key link in the Tasmanian State road network and provides access to the freight hubs between Hobart and the northern and north western regions of Tasmania.

The Illawarra Main Road provides a time-saving link as it eliminates the need to travel via Launceston when traveling between the south and the northern ports.

The key objective of the Illawarra Main Road upgrade, from the Perth Link to the Bass Highway, is to improve the road to a Category 1 standard and achieve a three-star AusRap safety rating.

The project will provide better connections between agricultural regions and ports, airports and other transport hubs, and better access to tourism, mining and other sectors.

Illawarra Main Road is a Category 1 road in the State road network hierarchy and became part of the National Highway network in 2015.

Launceston and Tamar Valley Traffic Vision ($75.1m)

Under this series of projects the Government will address growing traffic congestion issues in the Launceston and Tamar Valley road network.

This will improve the movement of high productivity freight movements through the City of Launceston and deliver improvements on the West Tamar Highway north of Legana as well as safety improvements to the Batman Highway.

East and West Tamar Highway upgrades ($100m)

East Tamar and West Tamar Highway upgrades, including lane separation, junction improvements and overtaking lanes as well as integration with the new Tamar River Bridge will form part of an integrated package of measures to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in Launceston and the Tamar Valley.

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