THE first sod has been turned on Tasmania’s largest-ever transport infrastructure projects – the $243-million Brighton bypass and transport hub.
Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett and the Parliamentary Secretary for Government Service Delivery, Senator Mark Arbib, recently inspected the site and turned the first sod on the project – six months ahead of schedule.
Premier David Bartlett, said that the projects were vital components of joint State – Federal Government plans to upgrade the northern approaches to Hobart.
“The investment in these projects will provide a significant stimulus to the Tasmanian construction industry and the Tasmanian economy – especially in the current economic climate.
“The bypass will have significant improvements to local communities by cutting travelling time on the Midland Highway and improving safety in the built-up areas at its southern end.
“These projects will significantly improve connections to the developing Brighton Industrial Estate and future Brighton Transport Hub.”
“This is of fundamental and long-term importance for the future of transport in Southern Tasmania,” he said.
Senator Arbib, said the Federal Government’s decision to bring forward funding for the Brighton Bypass demonstrates a commitment to delivering key road infrastructure projects and create jobs during the current economic downturn.
“This project is part of our nation building plan to support local economies during the current global economic recession and with the hub, is expected to provide up to 380 direct jobs with additional flow-on effects to local businesses,” he said.
“In fact, work on the project is starting six months earlier than previously expected as a direct result of the government’s decision to bring forward the necessary funding.”
Mr Bartlett said that the Brighton transport hub would provide a modern road-rail interchange and freight distribution hub to improve the efficiency of freight movement into and out of southern Tasmania.
“They are also of critical importance for the Brighton community and we have been working closely with the Brighton Council, transport operators, local business, land owners and the general community.
“The government has been working on developing the most effective construction program. This has resulted in the integration of the hub and bypass construction programs which will achieve significant efficiencies,” Mr Bartlett said.
Two joint ventures have been selected to carry out the work – VEC/Thiess has won the contract for the northern section of the bypass and John Holland/Hazell Bros the southern section, which includes the Brighton Transport Hub.
The $79-million hub is expected to be operational by September 2011 and the $164 million-bypass is scheduled for completion by June 2012.