Eastern Shore travel time to be reduced

A RE-ELECTED Hodgman Government has identified six major infrastructure projects for the south-east – including duplicating the Tasman Highway between Hobart and Sorell.

Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said the projects would improve traffic when travelling to and from Sorell for both the medium and long-term, and allay the concerns of local residents.

The state’s peak motoring body, the RACT, described the announcement as “…positive and welcome…” as nearly 7000 RACT members recently voted this section of road as number four in a worst roads survey.

RACT executive general manager Membership & Community Stacey Pennicott said the organisation’s members clearly believed it was time for the type of works being proposed by the government.

“We have advocated for infrastructure investment to improve the eastern approach to Hobart for some time,” she said.

“Given the significant financial investment required to improve this section of road, estimated to be about $300 million, the RACT has lobbied both State and Federal Governments for long-term funding consideration.

“Our 2016/17 and 2017/18 Federal Budget submission documents both identified the eastern approach as one of five key infrastructure investment priorities.

“The RACT has also pushed for funding through our State Government budget submissions, and more recently through the release of RACT’s election priority for a solution to the wider Hobart congestion issue.

“We are very pleased that our advocacy work in this space has been recognised through the election commitment announced recently.”

Mr Hidding said a planning study would be completed in the first year of a re-elected Hodgman Government to examine the best and most efficient way to duplicate the Tasman Highway between Hobart and Sorell.

“Early project costs indicate this work would be about $100 million,” he said.

“The duplication will complement other works including a Southern Sorell bypass that will connect the Arthur Highway to the Southern Beaches or Tasman Peninsula, and adding an extra lane in each direction to resolve the bottleneck at the Midway Point roundabout.

“We will also widen the section of road between the Airport Roundabout and the first causeway near the Tasmania Gold Club, add overtaking lanes on the Arthur Highway near Ironstone Creek Rivulet, and upgrade the Hobart Airport Interchange in conjunction with the Federal Government.”

Premier Will Hodgman said the Sorell area was leading population growth rates in Tasmania’s south and a traffic solution was needed to ensure the area kept up with current and future demand.

“Under a majority Liberal Government, the economy is growing strongly, so we need to invest more into our road infrastructure to address the growing pains it brings,” he said.

“It is clear the road network in Sorell and the surrounding area needs priority upgrading to accommodate the increased population and allow south-east residents to spend less time stuck in traffic and more time enjoying themselves.”