Road link hits a bump

SEALING the final road link between the East Coast and Tasman Peninsula has hit a hurdle with the local 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 prefer 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 said 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 Wielangta Road during the 2021 closure of the Tasman Highway, to ensure continued access to the East Coast.’’

Mr Ferguson said despite this setback, the Department had engaged an expert to explore the feasibility and cost of a staged upgrade.

The expert’s report is due in late 2022. The State Government conceded in June last year it was time to seal the road which would extend the popular Great Eastern Drive from St Helens to the Tasman Peninsula.

State Growth estimates up to 2000 vehicles a day would use the link if sealed.

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