THE Australian and Tasmanian governments last week said they are delivering a safer and more efficient north-south passenger and freight corridor for Tasmania following the unveiling of the jointly funded $500 million Midland Highway 10-Year Action Plan.
Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs and Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding announced that a total of 24 vital upgrades have been identified to improve the safety performance and economic capacity of the Midland Highway.
"Upgrading the Midland Highway will create and sustain hundreds of jobs, slash travel times for motorists and industry and drive economic growth by improving the safe connectivity between the south and north of Tasmania," Mr Briggs said.
"Our joint investment in the Midland Highway is a key part of our Economic Action Strategy to ensure Tasmania's primary industries can get their products to market more efficiently and take greater advantage of new global trade opportunities.
"Aiming to achieve a minimum 3 star AusRAP safety rating standard for the entire length of the Highway will save lives and prevent crashes, which will deliver greater economic outcomes and more certainty for commuters and local business."
Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said that while full duplication remains the long-term goal, the shorter-term priority is making the Midland Highway safer using the AusRAP methodology and known, cost-effective road safety treatments including:
- The installation of the successful flexible safety barriers;
- The introduction of wider medians;
- Removal of roadside hazards;
- Investment in junction upgrades;
- Widening lanes; and
- Adding additional overtaking opportunities.
"The first projects under our 10-year Plan have already been delivered. Public consultation is now underway for the biggest road project in the Northern Midlands region for many years, the duplication of the Midland Highway between Perth and Breadalbane, with construction programmed to start by Christmas 2015," Mr Hidding said.
Other priority projects to start within the next 12 months include:
- Bagdad to Mangalore safety improvements—road widening, property access improvements, extending sealed shoulders and junction upgrades;
- Kempton to Melton Mowbray—road widening to accommodate a flexible safety barrier, extending sealed shoulders and additional overtaking lanes;
- White Lagoon to Mona Vale—alignment upgrades, road widening, a flexible safety barrier, extending sealed shoulders and additional overtaking lanes; and
- South of Tunbridge Stage 2—southbound overtaking lane, road widening, flexible safety barrier and extending sealed shoulders.