Road link bump

SEALING the final road link between the Tasman Peninsula and East Coast has hit a hurdle with one council saying it will only agree to the project if the State takes over ownership of Wielangta Road.

Glamorgan Spring Bay Council agreed last month that it supported sealing Wielangta Road, but only if the road ownership was transferred to State Government.

“Otherwise, council prefers the road to remain unsealed,’’ council officers recommended. Council is concerned about the ongoing maintenance cost of an upgraded sealed link road from Orford to Kellevie.

However, Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Michael Ferguson was unequivocal saying the Government had no plans to take on ownership of the road. “All road owners, including councils and government, have a responsibility for the maintenance costs associated with their assets,’’ Mr Ferguson said.

“It is disappointing that Glamorgan Spring Bay Council does not support the future sealing and upgrade of this important link to Tasmania’s East Coast, as its road manager.

“I would have thought that residents and businesses of the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council area would be the main winners of a sealed Wielangta Road. “The Department of State Growth does not own or manage any part of Wielangta Road, and does not have any plans to take on ownership of the road.

“The Tasmanian Government still remains committed to helping owners seal the road in future, and has committed $1 million to work with the relevant land owners on further upgrades. “This $1 million is in addition to $384,000 spent by the department on significant upgrades and maintenance to, to ensure continued access to the East Coast.’’

The department had engaged an expert to work closely with the road owners, including Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, Forico, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and Sorell Council, to explore the feasibility and estimated cost of a staged upgrade and sealing of the road. The report from this work is due in late 2022.

The State Government conceded in June last year it was time to seal the strategic link which would see the popular Great Eastern Drive extended from St Helens all the way to the Tasman Peninsula.

State Growth estimates up to 2000 vehicles a day would use the link if sealed. Tasman Mayor Kelly Spaulding has long held the view the road should be sealed and has championed its cause.

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