Two new heavy vehicle rest areas have been included in the plans for an $80 million upgrade to Tassie’s Illawarra Road.
The road, which is a key freight link between the Midland and Bass Highways will undergo a series of works, with the first stage expected to be completed this year, and construction of the full project expected to be complete by late 2023.
Tasmanian company Gradco has received a $6.2 million contract to complete the first stage, which includes widening the lanes and shoulders of the road between the Longford roundabout and Bishopsbourne Road to improve safety at the Bishopsbourne Road intersection.
“These upgrades will provide a shorter, more attractive route for freight vehicles and holiday makers travelling between the north and south of the state,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce.
“The works will bring the road’s design up to the same standard as the Bass and Midland highways.”
Two heavy vehicle rest areas will also be built near the Longford roundabout.
Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said Illawarra Road provided an important connection from the Midland Highway to population centres in north and north-western Tasmania and allowed freight operators to bypass Launceston.
“Roads users will experience improved productivity and efficiency for freight operators and improved safety thanks to the works being undertaken,” Ferguson said.
“Improvements will include road widening, new overtaking opportunities, installation of flexible safety barriers to protect against head-on collisions, a heavy vehicle driver rest stop, and a cycle path linking Longford and Perth.”
Senator for Tasmania Claire Chandler added that the project complemented other road projects currently underway in the region.
“We’ve already delivered $83.1 million towards the Perth Link Roads project – another key upgrade connecting the township of Perth, which was completed in 2020.
Of the $80 million committed for the Illawarra Road upgrade, $64 million has been funded by the Federal Government and $16 million from the Tasmanian Government.