The government has re-opened public consultation on the proposed overpass on the Bass Highway at Leith following opposition from residents.
Face-to-face consultation sessions were held on Friday 23 July and Saturday 24 July at Turners Beach Hall and the documents available there are now available on the Department of State Growth website at: https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/projectsplanning/road_projects/north_west_road_projects/bass_highway_-_leith_overpass
They are also available to view at the Central Coast Council, 9 King Edward Street, Ulverstone, from Friday 23 July to Wednesday 11 August 2021.
The documents cover the project's background, what previous consultation found, how the road design options were developed and considered and where to next. They include the consideration of options such as a roundabout, speed reduction, right turn bans, and overpass with ramps and without.
Some residents have mounted a campaign against the proposed overpass options and have pointed out that pushing heavy vehicle traffic on to Leith Road will cut off a route locals use to ride and walk, even though an overpass path would create an obvious safe route across the highway.
They want to see the speed limit reduced and intersection upgrades, or a roundabout built instead of an overpass.
Most heavy vehicles currently use Forth Road to access the highway as there is already an overpass there, and it's also a route people who are less confident riders can use to get across to Turners Beach as there's a path on the overpass. Although, like Leith Road it's narrow and has unsealed shoulders until it hits the built-up area at Turners Beach and a footpath appears.
Leith and Braddons Lookout roads are also used by road cyclists as they are currently quieter back roads, and access to the underpass at Bass Highway is from Alexander Street which is off Braddons Lookout Rd.
The underpass takes people walking and riding from Alexander Street under the highway to a path alongside Short Street. A local resident has told us that there is no signage alerting people to the underpass but it provides a safe crossing for people walking and riding between the two halves of Leith.
Central Coast Council is soon to start work on building the Coastal Pathway section set to run from the Short Street path where the underpass lands, through Leith and over the old rail bridge over the River Forth to Turners Beach.
Devonport Council is well advanced in its planning for the section of Coastal Pathway between Don and Leith which will sit on the southern side of the highway and meet up with the underpass to get people across to Leith.
Regardless of the road option the government goes with at Leith, it sounds like money needs to be set aside to improve the connection of the underpass to Leith Road so people travelling on the Coastal Pathway will be able to get off for a side trip to Forth and existing riders will be able to find and use the underpass.