A long-term strategy to manage Invermay’s growing traffic demands will be considered by the City of Launceston council on Monday.
The council is expected to release the traffic masterplan for public comment if all aldermen approve its release at Monday’s meeting.
Breaking traffic demands down into short-term and medium-term goals, the plan looks to address congestion and road use issues in the lead-up to the University of Tasmania’s relocation to Inveresk.
Launceston’s inner city traffic is increasing by about 0.9 per cent each year for morning traffic, and 0.8 per cent for afternoon traffic.
The council’s research shows those trends of increasing traffic are expected to continue.
Short term projects are planned by the council to be delivered as soon as possible, ideally over the next one to three years, before enrolments open to the new Inveresk UTAS campus.
Longer-term roadworks are also planned to improve pedestrian and cycle access around Invermay, congestion and safety issues.
Those plans are expected to take place over the next three to five years subject to funding.
The community consultation process that is expected to be approved on Monday will focus on the short-term projects.
The draft plan aims to address congestion challenges around the Charles Street and Victoria Bridges, the notorious Lindsay Street intersection, and East Tamar Highway commuters entering and leaving Launceston.
Traffic modelling conducted by the council showed that once UTAS has relocated to the Inveresk precinct, an additional 400 vehicles per hour in the morning would go through the roundabout at Invermay Road and the Victoria Bridge.
The council’s report also found that the roundabout is struggling to regulate peak traffic due to the lopsided demands of the differing streets entering the roundabout, leading to growing congestion.
Modelling for traffic by 2033 showed that if the roundabout stays in place, morning commuters could be banked up throughout Invermay all the way to UTAS Stadium.
However, replacing the roundabout with traffic lights would reduce projected traffic congestion down to almost a third.
Traffic light phasing to ensure a clear run through Tamar Street, over the bridge and through Invermay would be addressed.
Pedestrian safety is also an issue the council is seeking to address, with pedestrians and bike riders walking along North Esk walkway stuck trying to cross the double-lane roundabout to access the western section of the walkway.
Charles Street Bridge and Lindsay Street Intersection
A chokepoint for Bunnings visitors and commuters entering and leaving Launceston, the intersection at Goderich Street and Lindsay Street is also predicted to see a traffic increase of up to 10 per cent.
Due to the development of Northbank into a community space, the Silo Hotels opening, and the number of Saturday morning visitors to Bunnings, about 475 vehicles per hour are predicted to travel through Lindsay Street and Goderich Street in the mornings, and about 500 per hour in the afternoon.
Drivers attempting to turn right back over the Charles Street Bridge after a visit to Bunnings are left waiting through a single green light without a right-turn arrow to turn safely.
Public feedback will be sought on solutions for the right turn problem, including banning right turns through Lindsay Street.
To take pressure off the Lindsay Street intersection, the council is proposing to develop a new link road behind Bunnings, connecting Lindsay Street and Gleadow Street.
There’s already a small through-road in existence to allow for Bunnings deliveries and collections, but the council hopes to formalise that road to encourage drivers through the entire block rather than having to navigate the Lindsay Street intersection.
Gleadow Street Intersection
With a new link road connecting Lindsay Street and Gleadow Street behind Bunnings, new traffic lights would be installed at the Gleadow Street/Goderich Street intersection with a double right-hand-turn lane to help traffic return back to Launceston.
At present that intersection is only a slipway for a left hand turn toward the East Tamar Highway.
Following along from the improvement of the Gleadow Street intersection, works will also take place on Forster Street in the short term to improve traffic flow and the quality of the streetscape.
Those longer-term works include efforts to improve bicycle access and linkage throughout Invermay, and changing some 90-degree parking to parallel parking to make way for a second east-bound lane.
Balancing the need for parking with better access to and from UTAS Stadium, the Showgrounds and Invermay Park, a possible longer-term project includes Forster Street adding a fourth lane to become double lanes east and west in the future.
A key focus of the draft masterplan is improving pedestrian and cycling access in and around Invermay.
Connecting Northbank and Invermay, the Tamar River and North Esk River walkways with better pedestrian and cycle access, the plan also looks at longer-term streetscapes.
Additional street lights are expected to allow for better pedestrian access around Invermay and along the North Esk and Tamar Rivers, and improve safety.
The expected impact of the UTAS relocation to Inveresk forms a major part of the council’s plan to address roadworks needed now and into the future.
Much of the proposed work falls under the state government’s $40 million Invermay road network improvement package.
The state government has committed those funds to address the Charles Street Bridge’s capacity for through-traffic, and improve Invermay’s road network.
The masterplan also integrates the Launceston traffic signal modernisation project, which is another partnership between the council and the state government.
These upgrades to traffic lights will see new technology used to improve synchronisation and traffic flow.
The draft masterplan will be presented to the City of Launceston council on Monday afternoon at its ordinary council meeting.
Aldermen will vote on whether to approve the plan for release to the public for general comment.
The council will also have an interactive website providing space for residents to view individual aspects of the proposed masterplan, where they can instantly provide feedback and suggestions.