The largest single project in the 10-year $500 million Midland Highway Action Plan is being brought forward by two years, resulting in the Northern Tasmanian economy receiving a $120 million economic boost.

Construction on the Perth Link Roads project will start before the end of 2017, according to the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the Perth Link Roads project was integral to the $500 million Midland Highway Upgrade.

“We know that better, safer roads changes lives and saves lives, so bringing the Perth Link Roads project forward will have an enormous impact on everyday motorists as well as Tasmania’s freight industry,” Mr Chester said.

“The project will connect the current upgrades underway between Symmons Plains and Perth and from Perth to Breadalbane. The upgrade works will run from the South Esk River Bridge to the Illawarra Road in the west and connect with the new Perth to Breadalbane section of the Midland Highway north of the town.

“Removing heavy vehicles from the centre of Perth, but still ensuring the town can be accessed from both the north and the south, means the main street will be safer for pedestrians and freight operators can save time.”

Mr Chester said the 10 Year Action Plan for the Midland Highway was part of the Australian Government’s Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania.

“This is a massive project which will improve connectivity between the south and north of Tasmania and aims to achieve a three star AusRAP safety rating standard along its entire length. The end result is better infrastructure for the state’s various industries and job security for thousands of people.”

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, said work is progressing well on the overall upgrade, with projects at Kempton, Baghdad and Tunbridge expected to be completed in the coming months.

“A project of this size and cost will result in millions being injected back into the economy with numerous flow-on benefits for local businesses. Its completion will also increase the productivity of our freight industry by allowing greater volumes of freight between Hobart and the state’s north per day,” Mr Hidding said.

“We are already realising the safety benefits of the upgrade with the central wire rope barrier installed on one of the first projects delivered, preventing a potentially fatal outcome from a recent crash.”

The Perth Link Roads project is expected to go to tender in mid-2017.

Construction is expected to commence in late 2017 and be completed in 2020. The Australian Government is contributing $400 million and the Tasmanian Government $100 million to upgrade the Midland Highway.

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