It’s time for action

The Chair of the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority (STCA), Ald Rob Valentine said today that Southern Tasmanians were expecting ‘both major political parties’ to commit funding to the Southern Tasmanian Infrastructure Plan, which includes a bypass of Dysart, Brighton, Bagdad and Pontville and an upgraded Bridgewater Bridge.

Responding to a suggestion from the RACT that a new four lane eastern shore highway should be considered before any decision is made on the Bridgewater Bridge, Ald Valentine said that this idea was first floated in the 1970’s.

‘We believe this alternative route has been considered before, but there are some major issues associated with it, such as the cost of land acquisition, the crossing of cultural heritage sites, the lengthening of supply chains for key businesses in the South and the pressure it would put on the current intersection at Elwick,’ Ald Valentine said.

‘The Bridgewater Bridge will be part of the second stage of the infrastructure investment and there will be time to look more closely at this alternative route to see if it there are more cost effective solutions before a final decision is made.

‘However, it is vital now that both major parties commit funds for work to start on the Brighton Bypass and to extend the AusLink Network to include the Brooker and Tasman Highway.

‘One of the key parts of the Fair Go for Roads campaign is the recognition of the Brooker and Tasman Highways to the Port and Airport as part of the National Auslink Network. This plan would make the need for upgrades of parts of the Brooker Highway even more critical.

Funding commitment needed now
‘What we need now is for the State and Federal Governments to commit the funding needed so we can start work on these projects now.

‘Southern Tasmanians have waited for too long for improvements to these roads.’

Ald Valentine said that the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority endorsed the Tasmanian Government’s proposed Southern Tasmania Infrastructure Plan that the Premier, Paul Lennon, presented to both sides of politics in Canberra in May.

‘This strategy proposes that in just over a decade, Southern Tasmanians will have a new dual-lane highway bypassing Brighton, Pontville and Bagdad and an upgraded Bridgewater Bridge,’ Ald Valentine said.

‘The State Government has already promised to fund 20% of the total cost of this major project and we are now awaiting both major parties in this election campaign to commit to the remaining cost.

‘The current Federal Government has already promised $100 million to upgrade the Bridgewater Bridge, but we need both parties to commit funding for the whole project.’

Ald Valentine can be contacted for further comment on 0418 127323