Works are underway on a major upgrade for the Zeehan Highway, a key freight link on the west coast of Tasmania.  

Construction has started on improvements to the highway from its junction with the Murchison Highway to Henty Road in Zeehan.

The upgrade is the next stage of an almost $44 million initiative to improve the Murchison and Zeehan Highways, jointly funded by the Federal and Tasmanian Governments.

The Federal Government is committing $35 million, while the Tasmanian Government is contributing almost $9 million to the project.

A $10.6 million contract has been awarded to Tasmanian company Shaw Contracting for the Zeehan Highway stage.

It involves upgrading 4.5km of the highway to meet modern heavy vehicle standards.

Heavy vehicles make up a high percentage of traffic on Zeehan Highway, with nearly 18 per cent of the average 1,055 vehicles a day being trucks.

The upgrade will improve safety by delivering two 3m-wide sealed lanes, with 1m-wide sealed shoulders and 0.5m-wide gravel verges.

Construction is expected to be completed in May 2025.

A future stage will continue the upgrade north along the Murchison Highway between the Argent River and Ring River.

These future upgrades between Rosebery and Zeehan will increase freight efficiency and reduce travel times, improving inter-regional connections to and from northern export ports in Tasmania, making the highways safer, and supporting tourism in the area.

The works will widen curves, seal road shoulders, and provide gravel verges, together with more formal overtaking opportunities and strategically located pull-off and load checking sites for heavy vehicle users.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said that the Federal Government is pleased to be contributing funding to this important project for the west coast region of Tasmania, which needs more reliable and safer highways, especially for heavy vehicle traffic.

“West coast residents, freight industries and tourists will all greatly benefit for years to come from this work,” Ms King said. 

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said that these works are the latest on the Murchison Highway, with the road already progressively upgraded from Belvoir Road south to Sterling River Bridge.

“This investment is crucial to support future increased demand from mining and tourism traffic,” Mr Ferguson said. 

Senator for Tasmania, Anne Urquhart, said that this work is welcome news for the west coast region as heavy vehicles are a large amount of the traffic using that section of road.

“This proves the Federal Government is committed to safety, efficiency and capacity of vital infrastructure which is crucial to local industries constantly reliant on this part of the highway.”

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