Works have kicked off on the first stage of Tasmania’s $55 million Northern Roads Package, with the aim of providing a more efficient route for freight vehicles travelling across the north of the state.
Tasmanian construction company Hazell Bros has started work on upgrading the Batman Highway between East Tamar Highway and the Batman Bridge. Site-set up and preliminary works have started, with major construction expected to start in mid-January.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the project would stimulate the surrounding region’s economy.
“We’re putting critical infrastructure first and in the fast-lane with construction on this project starting in January and to be fully completed by mid this year,” Mr McCormack said.
“This is yet another example of the Australian Government continuing to roll out our $110 billion nationwide infrastructure pipeline, supporting jobs and communities at a time when it is needed the most.”
Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said the Northern Roads Package would create better transport routes across Tasmania.
“The package will provide a more efficient route for freight vehicles travelling between the industrial precinct of Bell Bay and the Bass Highway,” Mr Ferguson said.
“Upgrades to Batman Highway, Frankford Main Road and Birralee Main Road will better accommodate heavy freight vehicles, making freight transport in Tasmania safer and more reliable.”
Member for Bass, Bridget Archer, said the upgrade includes providing sealed shoulders, which will make the road safer for use by heavy vehicle operators.
“The package will provide a faster and more efficient route for freight vehicles travelling between the industrial precinct of Bell Bay and the Bass Highway by upgrading sections of the Batman Highway, Frankford Main Road and Birralee Main Road,” Mrs Archer said.
“It will reduce freight traffic through central Launceston and operating costs for heavy vehicle operators, while improving safety for all road users travelling between the north-east and north-west of the state.”
Work on the Batman Highway project is expected to be completed by mid-2021, weather permitting. Planning is well underway for the Frankford and Birralee Road upgrades with construction of the full program of upgrades expected to be completed in early 2024.
The project is jointly funded, with the Federal Government committing $44 million, and the Tasmanian Government committing $11 million.