NO DEAL ON LINK
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.