Council seeks $325k for road safety

THE Launceston City Council is expected to seek $325,000 from the federal Black Spot Program to improve road safety.

Following a council Strategic Planning and Policy Committee meeting yesterday, officers highlighted six locations to aldermen for black spot funding and a further two for Traffic Safety Program money.

Council traffic engineering officer Nigel Coates proposed contributing $245,000 to partially fund some works.

Locations recommended for black spot funding include: Westbury Road-Normanstone Road - for traffic lights to be installed; Wellington Street-Howick Street - for opposing right turns to be aligned; and, Westbury Road-Stanley Street - for roundabout changes to reduce speed.

The council will also seek traffic safety funding to $50,000 for a Normanstone Road pedestrian refuge and Trevallyn Road banding and new kerb.

Given the single dividing vote at the last road consultative committee meeting for an introduction for lights at the intersection of Westbury and Normanstone roads, Alderman Jim Cox explained that lights would make it easier for those in Normanstone Road to turn right and left onto Westbury Road.

According to council data, two injury crashes and a further four non-injury crashes have occurred at the site in the past five years.

The total cost for lights at the site would be $150,000, half of which would be sought from black spot funding and the remainder from the council.

The council will seek funding for these programs from the federal government and, if approved, it will then carry out community consultation on each proposed location.

The matter is expected to go before aldermen at the next council meeting to meet the August 29 deadline for funding submissions.

The funding outcome will not be known before before June or July next year.

Due to federal funding changes, Tasmania is expected to see an increase in black spot funding from $1.6 million to $4.3 million a year.

Meanwhile, federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss announced yesterday the first allocation of Federal Assistance Grants totaling $72.6 million, had been made to the state government for distribution to Tasmanian councils. Assistance grant funding can be spent on infrastructure, health and other programs.

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