West Tamar Highway needs 'immediate' work: RACT

Labor has accused the Hodgman government of forgetting the West Tamar Highway, as the state’s peak motoring body calls for “immediate” upgrades for the road. 

Safety concerns have been raised by the community and the West Tamar Council amid increased traffic congestion on the highway. The Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania has also called for a long-term plan for the highway. 

The body’s executive general manger Stacey Pennicott said the RACT’s 2018/2019 budget submission identified the “immediate need” for works on the road between McEwans and Atkinsons roads, particularly the southbound lane.

“This area is subject to landslip and the road has deteriorated to a point where the gravel on road shoulders has washed away," Mrs Pennicott said.

The highway needs consideration because of the increased number of vehicles that will be using it after the Legana Structure Plan is complete, she said.

The West Tamar Highway was rated the state’s seventh worst road by the RACT’s member survey. 

In September, the RACT launched its roads funding priority list. 

“The West Tamar Highway (between Craythorne Road to Atkinsons Road) was identified as a key funding issue and included in the priority list,” Mrs Pennicott said.

“These priorities were ascertained from our member survey, Tasmanian crash data, AusRAP data and feedback from the community, in particular RACT’s Regional Advisory Groups.”

At the time of the launch, the RACT met with Labor, Liberal and Green representatives at its regional advisory forum to highlight and discuss election funding plans. Mrs Pennicott said no party had yet committed funds for the highway. 

Labor has responded to concerns aired recently regarding the safety of the West Tamar Highway. 

Opposition infrastructure minister Shane Broad said the party felt the government had forgotten other roadways. 

“We are concerned that current Liberal government is so focused on the Midland Highway that other areas are being missed,” Mr Broad said. “The West Tamar Highway has been raised with us by the RACT and forms part of their priority list which we are considering.”

Mr Broad said Labor has a $60 million community roads package. 

“We are currently seeking submissions from local councils, feedback from members of the community and recommendations from peak bodies such as the RACT in order to prioritise the best way to allocate the funding Labor has budgeted in our economic direction statement should we win government,” he said.