The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN McMANUS

PROGRESS on a sealed road link­ing the Huon and Der­went val­leys has stalled, with fund­ing the ma­jor stick­ing point.

A three-stage plan to im­prove Jef­ferys Track was mooted by Huon Val­ley com­mis­sioner Adri­ana Tay­lor and Der­went Val­ley Mayor Mar­tyn Evans in May.

The first stage would be to re­pair the track to the stan­dard that would al­low it to be used as a per­ma­nent fire trail, fol­lowed by an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into seal­ing the road.

The third stage would be to build the road with the help of State and Fed­eral fund­ing.

None of the stages has been com­pleted yet.

Ms Tay­lor has met In­fra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Rene Hid­ding, but the State Govern­ment has not com­mit­ted to any fund­ing.

“Mr Hid­ding says that he can’t see that it will be adopted as a state road any time soon,” she said.

“To be a state road, they would need to make it a fourlane high­way and it would have to be tar­mac — it’s a big pro­ject.”

Mr Hid­ding said that none of the track qual­i­fies as a road, and there­fore pro­vides no pro­tec­tion for MAIB claims or gen­eral car in­sur­ance.

“The track spans a wide mix

of land tenures, all of which will need to be re­solved,” Mr Hid­ding said.

“Af­ter sub­stan­tial ex­pen­di­ture the road will only qual­ify as a coun­cil road so would not at­tract state road fund­ing.”

Ms Tay­lor said the coun­cils could take own­er­ship of the road, but that would still be an ex­pen­sive un­der­tak­ing.

Cr Evans be­lieves the road would have a num­ber of ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing eas­ing con­ges­tion in Ho­bart.

He said given the fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits for both re­gions, the State Govern­ment should take own­er­ship.

Three years ago, the Der­went Val­ley Coun­cil in­ves­ti­gated the pos­si­bil­ity of seal­ing the Plenty Val­ley Link Rd.

The gravel road goes west of New Nor­folk and links up to Huonville at Jud­bury, but it was deemed un­fea­si­ble at an es­ti­mated cost of $30 mil­lion.

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