Wednesday 24 June 2020
Hansard of the Legislative Council
COWest Tamar Highway - Speed Limit Reduction
Mr FINCH to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
Will the Tasmanian Government consider reducing the speed limit on a section of the West Tamar Highway in response to local residents' concerns about numerous crashes in the area? Residents say the 70 kilometre per hour speed limit is too high for the section between 117 and 133 West Tamar Highway because it is often difficult to see approaching traffic due to the road condition.
(1) What can the Government do to make this part of the highway safe for local residents and motorists and other road users?
(2) Will the Government meet with local residents to inspect this firsthand to have this dangerous section of the road made safe?
(3) Will the Government consider reducing the local speed in that area from 70 kilometres per hour to 50 kilometres per hour, as suggested by residents?
Mr President, I thank the member for Rosevears for his three questions.
(1) to (3)
The Commissioner for Transport is the legal authority for setting speed limits on all roads in Tasmania. The commissioner makes a decision after looking at the application and recommendation from the road manager.
In the case of the West Tamar Highway, this is the Department of State Growth.
Any recommendation to the commissioner necessarily takes into account traffic engineering standards and guidance with respect to a road's function, traffic volume, abutting development and crash history.
The West Tamar Highway is a major urban arterial road carrying some 25 000 vehicles per day. The level of roadside access in the vicinity of the subject section is similar to that along the majority of the highway's length through Trevallyn and Riverside, and notably similar to that of other roads with matching characteristics and speed limits around the state, such as the East Derwent Highway through Lindisfarne, for example.
In terms of crash history, it is noted that in the last 10 years, there have only been seven reported crashes between 117 and 133 West Tamar Highway -
Ms Forrest - Less than the Stanley Highway.
Mrs HISCUTT - Two of these resulted in minor injury to the vehicle occupant, with the rest being property damage only. This is a very low crash rate considering the number of vehicles that use the road every day.
While it is appreciated that there will always be differing expectations between road users travelling through an area to those of local residents accessing their properties from the road, the current 70 kilometres per hour speed limit does align with the criteria set out by national guidance and the department would not be able to provide a creditable justification for recommending a 50 kilometres per hour speed limit to the Transport Commissioner, which would slow down every road user travelling into West Tamar.
The Government is currently undertaking the West Tamar Highway corridor study between Launceston and Legana. The minister, Michael Ferguson, has ensured that all local residents are invited to participate. As part of this work, extensive community engagement was recently carried out, inviting all residents adjoining the highway, and also the wider community, to provide feedback of their concerns and ideas to assist with information solutions for future road improvement projects along the highway.
The immediate area around 117 to 133 West Tamar Highway, locally known as Barnes Hill, featured strongly in the responses. The department, in conjunction with its design consultants, is looking at what solutions may be appropriate for the area to improve road safety for all road users.
Once options are further developed, local residents will again be informed and provided the opportunity to comment on any proposals.