Lutana Link plans suffer setback

The revived Lutana Link project has suffered a setback this week with Glenorchy Council moving the project from its capital works plan for next year to its ongoing Projects Register.

Monday night’s council meeting heard that the project was too complex to begin in the next financial year, with the old bridge over the Brooker Highway posing an unknown cost to maintain or replace.

The motion to keep the Lutana Link on the boil was supported by all aldermen but Sue Hickey, Melissa Carlton, Kelly Sims and mayor Bec Thomas all asked questions and spoke about the importance of the project to the community.

The council had recently re-embraced the Lutana Link concept, including it in the Prince of Wales Bay Masterplan released last year and rebranded as the Zinc Link.

The disused rail spur between the suburbs of Lutana and Derwent Park could be transformed into an active transport corridor, allowing children to get to school safely at Moonah Primary School or employees to get to work at Nyrstar and Derwent Park. It would also allow Lutana residents to make the short trip to the Main Road shops by foot or bike without having to cross the busy Brooker Highway.

The council also applied for a loan from the state government to progress the project which was the trigger for the decision at Monday’s meeting about whether to continue with the project or not.

The council agreed at the meeting to use the loan for the Zinc Link to progress other projects.

Lutana Link history

The idea to utilise a disused rail corridor that runs between the Intercity Cycleway and the industrial precinct in Derwent Park has been doing the rounds for years.

It appears in the greater Hobart councils 2009 Hobart Regional Arterial Bicycle Network Plan and the state government’s 2012 Principal Urban Cycling Network map.

In 2014 a community meeting and walk through was organised by Bicycle Tasmania to garner support for the idea.

Cycling South lobbied the council in 2015 to start work on the section between the cycleway and Central Avenue and the council said it would be considered in its Open Space Strategy, but nothing has happened since.

The project popped up again in the Prince of Wales Masterplan in 2021 and this year’s yet-to-be-released Greater Hobart Cycling Network map, but is now being returned to the backburner while the ongoing problems of who should own and maintain the bridge over the Brooker Highway are sorted through.