Bridge right on track

A PARLIAMENTARY committee has given the green light to the proposed new Bridgewater Bridge, despite concerns about a lack of rail access.

The Public Works committee, chaired by Hobart MLC Rob Valentine, took evidence from State Growth representatives and interested members of the public, who raised the rail access issue.

The report tabled in Parliament last week found that “while there are significant community concerns around the lack of provision for a rail connection … it is the Government’s policy position that such a connection is not within the scope of the reference due to technical considerations and the impact these would have on the cost of the project’’.

“Further, the current rail line is non-operational, and it is the department’s position that the reference project does not preclude future use of the existing rail corridor.

“Therefore, given the scope of the reference, the committee is satisfied that the need for the proposed works has been established.

“Once completed, the proposed works will provide a continuous, high-standard, four-lane connection between the Midland Highway and Brooker Highway, by removing the bottleneck created by the current Bridgewater Bridge configuration.’’

The project, costing close to $600 million, will provide “a safer and more efficient movement of current and future traffic volumes, by reducing congestion and queueing, which will improve travel time reliability and reduce travel times’’.

“The bridge design also aims to improve the efficiency of the freight network by allowing access for the high productivity freight vehicles employed elsewhere on the Tasmanian freight network that cannot currently use the Bridgewater Bridge due to vehicle size and mass restrictions in place,’’ the Committee reported.

“The proposed interchanges also aim to provide safe and efficient connections with the Lyell Highway and local traffic movements, thereby reducing traffic flow restrictions.”