The Tasmanian Liberal Government recognises the impact of the closure of the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge on local communities and businesses.
We are working closely with business, freight, education and tourism sectors and have taken significant measures to minimise this impact and provide regular advice and support.
Today with the Minister for Small Business Jane Howlett, I met with several business owners, staff and community members in Orford and Triabunna and spoke with them about the unprecedented interruption. We were able to get a better picture of their ideas and priorities.
It’s important to note that support has been flowing to the community from the moment we became aware that we needed to take action to protect Tasmanians’ safety. We’ve since set up a temporary school at Buckland and brought in extra emergency service resources to support the community more broadly.
On top of this, the Department of State Growth has also contacted major freight operators and is following up regularly. Reports to date are that fuel, groceries and post are being delivered through the operators’ preferred alternative routes, either via Lake Leake Road or Wielangta Road.
We have undertaken immediate maintenance and improvement works on both Lake Leake Road and Wielangta Road. Most freight that usually travels on the closed section of the Tasman Highway has been able to use the Lake Leake Road detour. We have increased the frequency of road inspections on this detour and are also monitoring Wielangta Road to ensure any problems are identified early and repaired urgently.
I travelled Wielangta Road twice today and was impressed with the improvements to the road and its current good condition. There were a range of vehicles including 2WD passenger vehicles sharing the road and driving safely to the conditions. We remind drivers that Wielangta Road is unsealed and they must drive to the conditions and that during periods of higher use or bad weather, sections of the road may deteriorate and require repairs. State Growth contractors are regularly monitoring the road’s condition and any issues found will be urgently repaired. A grader remains on standby onsite, with gravel stores, to make immediate repairs when necessary.
Heavy vehicle operators who have concerns or questions about available detours should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their particular circumstances.
If any other local businesses affected by the closure have any questions or would like further information they are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or email@example.com.
We are working with the tourism industry to ensure tourists are provided with information at points of entry to the state and can plan their visits to the area using appropriate routes.
We are also working hard to ensure everyone is kept up to date through continually updated information on the Transport website: www.transport.tas.gov.au and the RoadsTas Facebook page.
I thank the various members of the East Coast community who I spoke to today for their insight and patience during these unfortunate circumstances.
I also acknowledge and thank the many professional staff working hard around the clock at Paradise Gorge to get these works completed. They have acted with necessary urgency and commitment to assist the Government to safely address these urgent safety works in order to save lives and ensure a safe highway in future.