The Tasmanian Government has awarded a $6.2 million contract to complete the first stage of the Illawarra Road upgrade, a key freight link between the Midland and Bass Highways.
Tasmanian company Gradco was awarded the contract.
The $80 million project is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, which aims to improve productivity and efficiency on key freight networks.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said Stage 1 would widen the lanes and shoulders of the road between the Longford roundabout and Bishopsbourne Road to improve safety at the Bishopsbourne Road intersection.
“These upgrades will provide a shorter, more attractive route for freight vehicles and holidaymakers travelling between the north and south of the state,” Mr Joyce said.
“The works will bring the road’s design up to the same standard as the Bass and Midland highways.
“Two heavy vehicle driver rest areas will also be developed near the Longford roundabout.
“Nationwide, we are investing in projects like this to help connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better link up regional communities – part of our plan for a stronger Australia.”
Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said Illawarra Road provided an important connection from the Midland Highway to population centres in north and north-western Tasmania and allowed freight operators to bypass Launceston.
“Road users will experience improved productivity and efficiency for freight operators and improved safety thanks to the works being undertaken,” Mr Ferguson said.
“Improvements will include road widening, new overtaking opportunities, installation of flexible safety barriers to protect against head-on collisions, a heavy vehicle driver rest stop, and a cycle path linking Longford and Perth.”
Senator for Tasmania, Claire Chandler, said the project complemented other road projects currently underway in the region.
“Since 2013–14, the Australian Government has committed $3.8 billion towards infrastructure projects in Tasmania, supporting thousands of jobs and boosting the economy,” Ms Chandler said.
“We’ve already delivered $83.1 million towards the Perth Link Roads project – another key upgrade connecting the township of Perth, which was completed in 2020.
“The Australian Government will continue to invest in and deliver the road infrastructure projects that matter to locals, tourists, businesses and freight operators.”
The Australian Government has committed $64 million and the Tasmanian Government has committed $16 million to upgrade Illawarra Road from Bass Highway to the Perth Link roads.
The first stage of work is expected to be completed this year, with construction of the full project expected to be complete by late 2023.