Culture clash road detour

A NEW design for the Arthur Highway at Eaglehawk Neck has been released to avoid identified cultural heritage issues, the Government says.

The revised design for safety improvements was released for public comment on July 19 and closed on July 30.

The design includes road widening, road surface improvements, new turning facilities at Blowhole Road, and a 1.5m path between Blowhole Road and the bus stop opposite Old Jetty Road.

Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson said the design was revised to avoid identified cultural heritage areas following consultation with Aboriginal organisations and regulatory authorities.

“The revised design also meets the safety objectives of the project,’’ Mr Ferguson said.

Construction was halted earlier this year after Aboriginal groups said the works would disturb a significant burial site which is reported to be the scene of a massacre in the 1800s where many indigenous were killed.

Tasman Mayor Kelly Spaulding said he hoped those with concerns had made comment on the revised plan.

“The new plans have already been shown to concerned groups and consultation has been done by DSG, the less disturbance in this area the better but we do need to improve the safety for pedestrians and large vehicles through this narrow area,’’ Mr Spaulding said.

“With the only other option being to drop the speed limit right down which is not one that I am keen to see on the Arthur highway.’’

The local Aboriginal Paredarerme community has been in consultation with the Department of State Growth.

Parrdarrama Pungenna Aboriginal Corporation secretary Elena Maconald said the organisation had never believed the road upgrade would in fact disturb any sacred areas.

“The site in question is believed to be further back from the road, and the ground around the road has already been disturbed over the years,’’ Ms Maconald said.

“The new plans will now go no further into the dunes than the current road, and will instead be built up from the beach.

“We are satisfied with this as a community, it will not impact sacred areas, and will improve safety for road users.

“There will be no digging up of sacred sites, or damaging excavations, as has been proposed in the media.

“Our cultural heritage is of paramount importance, and we are satisfied that this road upgrade will not impact upon that.’’

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