Work has started on further improving freight access on Tasmania’s state road network under a new $100 million program.
The Freight Capacity Upgrade Program is a jointly funded initiative, with $80 million committed by the Australian Government and $20 million by the Tasmanian Government.
The program will increase the freight capacity of critical and regional freight routes throughout Tasmania by strengthening or replacing various bridges and improving sections of roads.
The first stage includes the strengthening of 11 bridges, replacement of two bridges and road improvements at 14 sites.
When completed, there will be an additional 224 kilometres of state roads approved for access by Higher Mass Limit vehicles.
This will greatly assist freight operators in planning for the future and give them confidence to expand their operations.
It will also extend the lifespan of critical and regional freight routes throughout the state, improving access for operators of heavy vehicles and providing benefits for the state’s agriculture, resources and manufacturing industries.
It will also minimise the long-term maintenance costs to the state.
The Tasmanian economy has been growing strongly and improving freight transport infrastructure will ensure that growth continues.
Work has already started on several road strengthening projects and tenders closed on 15 March 2023 for the first two bridge strengthening projects: Pipers River Bridge on Bridport Road in the state’s north-east and Ring River Bridge on the Murchison Highway on the west coast.
An estimated 190 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the program, with an Indigenous employment and supplier-use target of 4.5 per cent.
“The Australian Government is committed to improving road safety and freight efficiency, and this investment will ease congested roads while also creating opportunities for Tasmanian,” said Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.
“Our funding, by helping continue this successful economic productivity initiative for the next five years, is key ensuring Tasmania’s road network is as safe and as efficient as possible.”
Tasmanian Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Michael Ferguson, said: “The Freight Capacity Upgrade Program not only enhances the productivity of Tasmanian freight, but also increases efficiency and road safety. This investment in Tasmania great news for our community and will back local jobs while also supporting our freight industry.”