Midland Highway upgrade worries heard by committee

Residents and road users have expressed concerns for stage two of the Midland Highway upgrades despite project directors labelling the development as value for money.

The parliamentary committee hearing into the Perth bypass was held at the town’s community centre on Thursday, with six taxpayers giving evidence. 

Tasmanian Truck Owners and Operators Association vice president Des Taylor said he was concerned with the lack of safe truck stops on the proposed design, with co-association member Alf Watters agreeing.

“We think you’ve got the planning wrong somehow,” Mr Watters said.  

Perth resident Anthony Brown said he will be using the road daily and raised concerns with the committee about the planned road surface.

“My concern is that I don’t like spray seal. It’s probably just going to do the same thing (as stage one),” he said. 

Project manager Ted Ross said there was a “substantial cost differentiation” between spray seal and asphalt, but it wasn’t the only reason it was the chosen material.

“The stone size (of the spray seal) allows for more grip on the road and reduces the likelihood of crashes in icy conditions, as well as being a cost efficient surface,” he said.

He also said that slow vehicle issues would be overcome with the implementation of overtaking lanes.

Mr Brown also expressed concerns with the planned roundabout to the South of the proposed upgrades. He said he didn’t want traffic slowed, suggesting installing a speed camera. 

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Long-term resident and Northern Midlands councillor Dick Adams praised the idea of reducing traffic from the Drummond Street, Youl Road and Illawarra Road intersection, which is planned to become a cul-de-sac.

“(The intersection) is the worst crossing in Tasmania. The upgrade is probably 50 years over due. It’s very dangerous and claimed many lives,” he said. 

But Mr Adams said it was important to maintain the connections between Perth and Longford, which another resident also spoke about.

Noise issues will be addressed by a 20-metre band of trees. 

But life-long Perth resident John Stagg told the committee he had no outstanding concerns, labelling the plans “great”. 

Tenders for stage two of the $500 million Midland Highway project, the Perth link roads, is expected to be awarded by December. 

The 2020 deadline on the project allows for unfavourable weather. Clearing works are expected to start at the beginning of 2018. 

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