North Esk River traffic crossings under review

Investigations are underway to update the Launceston Traffic Review transport issues paper released in November 2012.

A key finding of the report was that more detailed study was required in each of the identified problem areas to draw more specific conclusions.

Both the Charles Street and Victoria Street bridges were deemed as high priority, with the increased number of commercial developments off Lindsay Street.

“The Department of State Growth and Launceston City Council are investigating potential short and long-term traffic management options that will accommodate current and future ventures,” a State Growth spokeswoman said.

TRAFFIC DATA: In 1982 the average number of vehicles crossing the bridge each day was 19,508. Today the average number is 32,680. Source: Department of State Growth

TRAFFIC DATA: In 1982 the average number of vehicles crossing the bridge each day was 19,508. Today the average number is 32,680. Source: Department of State Growth

“Any traffic analysis or short and long-term management must consider multiple factors, including impact on residents and businesses, future development, and much more.”

The City of Launceston’s director of infrastructure services Shane Eberhardt said duplication of the Charles Street bridge or widening the bridge, as suggested in the 2014 Launceston Traffic Study, were both considerations.

“The developments off Lindsay Street - the Silos Hotel development, North Bank and others have been on the drawing board for some time, but to deliver major infrastructure projects takes time to investigate, design and of course, to obtain finance for,” he said.

“Duplication of Charles Street bridge is one option we understand the Department of State Growth is considering. However, a project of this magnitude would come with a hefty price tag.”

Mr Eberhardt said the bridge design and construction must be capable of carrying not only large volumes of traffic but heavy vehicles carrying freight.

RELATED STORIES:

“You only have to look at the costings mentioned in the media around a new bridge at Bridgewater in the state's south,” he said.

“That's in the vicinity of $500 million. Obviously, extending the Charles Street bridge wouldn't be as expensive as that, but it is something to consider.”

The State Growth spokeswoman said analysis indicated that the Charles Street bridge “does not require replacement at this time”.

“Further analysis is currently being undertaken to determine if widening is feasible.”

The 2012 report said there was already a “high level of saturation” at the Lindsay-Goderick-Charles streets intersection, and traffic flow was likely to be significantly altered as developments were completed.

The 2014 study also suggested the construction of a new bridge connecting St John Street and Holbrook Street, or banning right-hand turns for north-bound traffic into Lindsay Street from Charles Street.

Traffic modelling software found there could be significant improvements to the operation of the intersection and the two bridges but the impacts were “highly local to the immediate surrounds”.