$49.2 million for Tasmanian Roads
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Leader of the National Party
13th May 2003
The Federal Government will spend $49.2 million in 2003-04 on Tasmanian roads, including funds to duplicate the Bass Highway between Ulverstone and Penguin, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said today.
"The Government will also press on with implementing our election promises to upgrade the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road and improve the safety of the Arthur Highway," Mr Anderson said.
Widening the Bass Highway
"The Government will spend $1.6 million in 2003-04 on duplicating the Bass Highway between Penguin and Ulverstone. The 10 km stretch of road is the last two lane section of the highway between Burnie and Devonport. We spent $0.5 million in 2002-03 to begin planning the upgrade.
"Stage one of the project will be to duplicate the road from Penguin to the Leven River Bridge, which has the highest level of traffic and few opportunities for overtaking. It will cost a total of $23.0 million and will be completed by the end of 2005.
Keeping our promise on the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road
"The Government will spend $2.0 million in 2003-04 on planning and design work for upgrading the Lilydale-Scottsdale Road. We provided $0.5 million for planning and design in 2002-03.
"We originally planned to start funding the upgrade in 2004-05; however, we have brought it forward because of its importance. The existing highway from Launceston to Scottsdale runs through tough mountainous country, and it would be prohibitively expensive to upgrade it to the minimum standards required by modern heavy vehicles.
"The Lilydale-Scottsdale Road will replace the Tasman Highway as the principal highway corridor between Launceston and north-east Tasmania by 2006.We will contribute up to $10.0 million towards the the road, on a dollar for dollar basis with the Tasmanian Government.
Keeping our promise on the Arthur Highway
"We will spend $1.6 million in 2003-04 to continue improving the safety of the Arthur Highway, which will bring our total expenditure on the safety upgrade programme to $3.6 million.
"The funding will complete the eastbound and westbound overtaking lanes at Gunns Hill, which is about halfway between Forcett and the overtaking opportunity at Little Boomer Creek. It will also lead to safety improvements at Wharmby's Corner, including the removal of a large embankment that will improve the sight distance through the curve.
"The safety upgrade programme is expected to be completed by April 2004.
Bridgewater Bridge replacement
"The Government has budgeted $0.9 million in 2003-04 to carry out engineering assessments to support the process of reaching a decision on the replacement Bridgewater Bridge. The existing lift bridge was completed in 1946 and is now enormously expensive to maintain.
"We have set aside substantial funds in future years to replace the bridge, but we have to wait for the Tasmanian Government to finish considering the heritage issues involved in replacing the bridge and its possible design.
"I urge them to work constructively with the local community and resolve the outstanding issues quickly, because it is becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain the bridge to a safe standard.
Saving Lives with the Black Spot Programme
"Tasmania will receive $1.1 million in 2003-04 under the National Black Spot Programme, which provides funding to improve dangerous accident locations on Australia's roads. The programme is estimated to prevent about 500 serious crashes a year nationally.
Supporting our Local Roads
"In 2003-04, the Government will invest $34.5 million in Tasmania's local roads, including $24.5 million in untied Local Road Grants and $10.0 million under the Roads to Recovery Programme.
"The $1.2 billion Roads to Recovery Programme is the largest funding injection into local roads by any Federal Government. So far, councils have listed about 10,000 projects for funding, with a strong emphasis on improving road safety.
"In 2002-03, we had to defer $100 million of spending under the programme nationally to meet our overall budgetary requirements. Local authorities throughout Australia will receive their full Roads to Recovery allocation in 2003-04, and will receive an extra $100 million in 2004-05 to make up for the deferral," Mr Anderson said.
Media inquiries: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 233989