State cycling projects get underway in south

One of the central promises made by the Liberal Party at the 2018 election was to spend $2 million in each of Tasmania’s three regions to improve cycling infrastructure on state roads, especially where they intersect with council cycling infrastructure.

The project team have been working with councils to identify projects that can be delivered this financial year and the next.

This financial year the projects which look set to get off the ground are:

Huon Valley: Wilmot Rd, between Huonville High and Louisa Ave

An existing gravel pathway of about 900 metres will be sealed with asphalt and widened to 2.5 metres, connecting the caravan park and growing residential area of Ranelagh to Huonville High and Huonville Primary School.

Glenorchy: path to Bowen Bridge off Goodwood Rd from Howard Rd

Anyone who has ridden over the Bowen Bridge knows the road shoulder completely disappears and a road barrier means there’s no access to the bridge path if you don’t get on it further down Goodwood Rd. An existing TasWater access path will be sealed with asphalt to create a 3 metre wide path that people riding can get on at Howard Road to connect to the path on the bridge. Work is set to begin on this on 6 April.

Devonport: Stoney Rise Rd

This road already has a short section of 2.5 metre wide path and this project will add another section: Tugrah Road to Leary Avenue. The new asphalt path will be another step towards the council’s goal to have Stoney Rise Road connect to the Great Foreshore Trail at either end to create a loop around greater Devonport.

The projects which are still being developed but look like they could start next financial year if the Liberals are re-elected to government are:

Devonport: Stoney Rise Rd

More 2.5 metre wide path, this time from Middle Road to Durkins Road. This is a more complex task than the section being built this financial year because of the steep gradient down the hill from Middle Road and so is still being scoped.

Launceston: East Tamar Hwy path to Dilston

This project aims to provide a path alongside the highway from George Town Road to John Lees Drive in Dilston, which could also eventually be linked to the university path which ends at Newstead or the Rocherlea to Mowbray path. The design is still being scoped and costed and discussions are continuing regarding land ownership.

The process to get these projects up has shown the importance of councils getting projects to a basic design stage so they are ready to go if funding becomes available, but has also shown how useful it would be to have a standing fund for cycling infrastructure.

Many councils don’t prioritise spending on project design if there is no immediate funding possibility. If they knew there was a standing infrastructure fund they could apply to, then there would be more incentive for them to have projects ready to go.