Shared paths on the Tasman Bridge would be a game changer for Hobart, opening up the possibility of riding or walking to the city for thousands of eastern shore residents, according to Bicycle Network.
“The inadequate paths on the Tasman Bridge have been a major barrier to riding in Hobart,” Tasmanian Public Affairs Manager Alison Hetherington said today.
“We need more people to walk and ride for short trips to relieve traffic congestion, improve health outcomes and reduce carbon emissions. But many people don’t feel they have the option to walk and ride because of unsafe and uncomfortable infrastructure.
“Wider paths protected from wind and separated from traffic would encourage many more people to ride or walk to the city.
“Improved paths on the bridge will also be a tourism benefit as visitors would seek the view out over Hobart from the peak of the bridge and ride the Foreshore Trail on the eastern shore.
“We look forward to contributing ideas to the design of the paths to ensure they meet the needs of people riding and walking.
“The Australian and Tasmanian governments are to be congratulated for investing in this much-needed infrastructure.
“Bicycle Network would like to see ongoing funding for bicycle infrastructure to build the separated cycleways we need to get more people moving,” Ms Hetherington said.
The Tasman Bridge joins the eastern and western shores of Hobart and is the main access between the two sides of the River Derwent.
The bridge has two narrow maintenance paths on each side that people riding and walking can use.
The paths are too narrow for two riders to pass each other without having to stop.
Both paths are exposed to strong wind and combined with the half height divider with the traffic lanes means riders could potentially be blown off their bikes into the traffic lanes.
The already narrow paths are narrowed further by maintenance gantries that protrude into the pathway.
The inadequate infrastructure on the bridge means only the hardiest riders attempt to commute daily into the city.
Some 21,000 people on the eastern shore live within a 10 km ride of the Hobart GPO.
The Tasmanian Government has conducted investigations into the bridge’s strength and engineering possibilities for providing wider paths.
A detailed reference design needs to be done before any tender process for construction can begin, and that procurement process is likely to happen in 2021, with bridge strengthening and pathway construction occurring in 2022–23.
The Tasmanian Government opened an expressions of interest registration process in August this year for private businesses to operate a ferry between Bellerive and Hobart city for a one-year trial and option for one-year extension. The ferry would only operate Monday-Friday in peak periods and has been asked to cater to passengers with bicycles.
The government has released an artist's impression of what the bridge paths could look like but a final reference design has to be completed which will be more detailed and indicative of what final paths and barriers will look like.