By TONY FOSTER
THE official opening of the Brighton Bypass is truly an historic day for the Brighton municipality and for Tasmania.
It’s been a long time coming, indeed it was being discussed when I first became a councillor in the 1980s. But now after many years of discussion, contemplation, consideration, planning and finally construction, the Brighton Bypass is due to be open as Brighton Community News goes to press and we can continue to restore Brighton and Pontville to the towns they once were. Understandably when we officially open the bypass this month, it is providing an opportunity to reflect on the history and to thank those who had supported us along the way in what has been a very long journey. This journey goes back to 1985 when I first joined Brighton Council.
At the time we were discussing the preferred route from Bridgewater to Dysart to bypass Brighton, Pontville, Mangalore and Bagdad.
Would it be the east side or would it be best on the west side? It was decided the proposed corridor be the east side and of course the work is now complete.
The corridor for the Brighton bypass was established in the 1980s and the Council rezoned land to industrial on the west side of the Midland Highway in the 1990s, spending some $300,000 on water, sewerage and road infrastructure to develop the Brighton industrial estate in February 1998.
At that time we dubbed it the transport hub of southern Tasmania. We had the vision then but we knew it was not going to happen overnight. Council worked closely with the State Government and our neighbouring councils to develop a plan to upgrade the northern approaches to Hobart from Dysart to Granton and when the transport hub was first mooted by former Premier Paul Lennon, we embraced the proposal and did everything to assist its development.
We thank the following people on behalf of the Council and the people of Brighton: Mayor Tony Bisdee, from Southern Midlands, Mayor Deidre Flint, from Central Highlands, and former Derwent Valley Mayor Nick Cracknell for their collective support through the many meetings we had with both State and Federal Government politicians.
I have previously thanked and again reiterate our thanks to former Minister Jim Cox and current Deputy Premier Bryan Green with whom we worked closely on the bypass proposal along with former Premier Lennon for his vision and great support. At the federal level, Minister Martin Ferguson gave us his personal support and had the project included as one of his Government’s election promises, so securing the federal funding.
We also had excellent support from then State Minister for Infrastructure, Graeme Sturges.
While it took a long time to get to get to where we are today I am absolutely delighted that the bypass has finally come to fruition.
The bypass is undoubtedly a major project representing one of the biggest investments in this type of infrastructure in the history of Tasmania. It would not
have occurred without the financial support of the Federal and State Governments, and we thank them sincerely.
At the same time we have finalised the major streetscaping plans of the Midland Highway from Brighton to Pontville, and while work has started, there is still much to do on this major project.
Importantly, they are again becoming townships rather than clusters of buildings divided by a busy highway and as a community, we have been determined to get the best out of this change and to better plan for the growth we are already experiencing.
In Brighton, our planning is aimed at determining a suitable mix and location of land uses within the township centre, facilitating commercial growth, improving access and movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists throughout the area and facilitating urban design and townscape improvements.
Pontville is a wonderful, historic village and the reduction, particularly in heavy and through traffic, will only add to the amenity of residents, broaden its appeal to visitors, as well as enhance the safety and attraction of the important Pontville Park Recreation centre sporting complex.
The development of the Brighton bypass has been a very long journey but with both the support of past and current state and federal politicians and the community, it is now reality.
I am proud that as a council we have played a positive role in fostering and encouraging this development. It goes without saying that we now look forward to sharing in the benefits it will undoubtedly provide.