Question - Transport vision project - Eastern bypass for Northern Tasmania
Tuesday 8 November 2022, Question without notice
Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
Further to my questions in August 2019 regarding the prospective eastern bypass for the state's north, can the Leader please advise:
(1) what progress has been made towards construction of a bypass or any other traffic solution as a result of the Transport Vision project between the Tasmanian Government and the greater Launceston councils;
(2) how was the $1.5 million commitment from the federal government in 2019 spent? What results can the Government show for this, particularly as it relates to advancing plans for an eastern bypass; and
(3) in reference to the answer provided to my questions on this issue in August 2019, what is the progress on the Network Operations Plan for the inner Launceston area?
I thank the member for her question.
(1) The findings of the study were published on the department's website earlier this year. The study found that the proposal for a new bypass is not aligned with the relevant development strategies, in particular, those of the City of Launceston regarding sustainable economic development, improved livability and land use planning. Traffic modelling shows a bypass is not an attractive option for longer distance trips, which maintain the same travel path as the existing route along the East Tamar and Midland highways, and that a bypass would primarily only benefit some localised traffic. The study has not demonstrated any significant improvements to active transport or reduction of traffic accidents.
The proposed bypass would separate parts of the North Esk flood plain from the main channel, with a potential to increase the flood levels on the river side of the bypass. The bypass would require several bridge or culvert openings to ensure much of the flood plain was usable. The construction of fill embankments over poor ground in the flood plain is likely to lead to ongoing consolidation of the alluvial soils over a protracted period. The cost‑benefit analysis rated the major bypass options as having weak economic feasibility. The department will continue to look at alternative options to reduce vehicle congestion impacts in the centre of Launceston.
(2) The Government has spent about $294 000 on the Launceston Eastern Bypass Study, which is available on the Department of State Growth's website. The department is in discussions with the Australian Government to determine how the remaining funds will be used.
(3) The Launceston Network Operations Plan, along with the Greater Launceston Transport Vision, Launceston Transport Strategy and Central Activities District Parking Implementation Plan were endorsed by the City of Launceston Council on 4 November 2021. Since that time, the Network Operating Plan has been used to guide operational decisions by both council and the Department of State Growth.