Federal funding has been approved for the second stage of upgrades to improve the safety of Tasmania’s Midland Highway, putting construction on track to begin mid-2017.

Stage two of the upgrade will cover seven kilometres of the Midland Highway improved between the Pontville Roundabout at Brighton Road, Bagdad and Eddington Road, Mangalore.

Works will include widening sealed shoulders, installing a central median incorporating a flexible safety barrier, and addressing roadside hazards such as trees and other obstacles.

Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Darren Chester, said, “Our focus on improving driver safety has three key elements—safer roads, safer vehicles and safer driver behaviour.

“This upgrade will play a big part in significantly reducing the risk of head-on crashes and vehicles running off the road by introducing safety features such as widened shoulders and safety barriers.

“The Australian Government’s commitment is ongoing, through our $400 million investment and the Tasmanian Government’s $100 million investment in improving safety on the Midland Highway over the next 10 years.”

Senator for Tasmania, Jonathon Duniam, said wider shoulders will help motorists turn into roads and properties safely out of the way of following traffic, while median safety barriers will reduce the risk of head-on crashes.

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, said the Mangalore to Bagdad stage two upgrades were part of a long-term plan to improve safety on the Midland Highway.

“This latest section complements the stage one upgrade which runs north of Eddington Road to Swan Street through the Bagdad township and is already under construction,” Mr Hidding said.

“This section of the Midland Highway has a poor safety record and this project will separate opposing lanes of traffic, which road safety experts have identified as a priority.”

The stage two section is expected to commence in mid-2017 and be completed in early 2019, weather permitting.

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