Tenders are now open to deliver the 11km Epping Forest to Powranna upgrade, the next major project in Tasmania’s $500 million Midland Highway 10 Year Action Plan to improve safety and the road’s AusRAP rating.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the package of works would reduce injuries and save lives on Tasmania’s key north-south road link.

“Tasmanians will be well aware of how dangerous the Midland Highway can be to drive on. Some sections have an AusRAP rating of just one star, the poorest possible result, and we are upgrading the full length of the Midland Highway to meet the AusRAP three-star safety standard,” Mr Chester said.

“This section of the upgrade will improve safety along the approximately 11km section of road between Epping Forest and Powranna through road and shoulder widening and additional overtaking lanes in both directions.

“The safety improvements between Epping Forest and Powranna will complement works already underway at two projects on the northern end of the highway – the Symmons Plains to south of Perth upgrade, and the Perth to Breadalbane duplication.”

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, said local businesses have already directly benefitted from the upgrades, while the community is also benefitting from improved safety and travel efficiency on completed sections.

“We are building Tasmania’s future, and these vitally important projects will not only result in increased safety, but will also provide the infrastructure needed to support Tasmania’s growing economy,” Mr Hidding said.

“Eight Midland Highway projects have already been completed, with the work resulting in millions being injected back into the economy and numerous flow-on benefits for local businesses.

“These include South of Kempton, Mangalore to Bagdad Stage 1, North and South of Spring Hill, South of Tunbridge, Conara to Cleveland Stage 1, and junction upgrades at Mud Walls Road and Kings Meadows Connector.

“Further south, works are continuing at the White Lagoon to Mona Vale Road project and a further two projects between Kempton and Melton Mowbray (Stages 1 and 2) at the southern end of the Highway were completed in May.”

Work is expected to begin in late 2017 and be completed by early 2019.

Submissions to tender close on 11 July 2017.

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