Bypass solution support from councils welcomed

BRIGHTON Council is delighted it has received the support of the majority of Tasmanian councils for the Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources (DIER) solution to construct a bridge across the site of Aboriginal artifacts as part of the Brighton Bypass.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said he was heartened by the support of the recent Local Government Association  (LGAT) quarterly meeting of councils, which overwhelmingly supported the DIER solution.

At the same time Cr Foster described as “breathtaking”, the lack of state political support for the solution.

Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said he found it inconceivable that State politicians, particularly Government members, had not publicly supported the solution developed by their own department.

“The LGAT decision demonstrates that Tasmanian councils recognise that the bypass is not a Brighton issue – it is a whole-of-Tasmania issue.¬† The bypass is integral to our collective ability to do business throughout Tasmania and it must proceed, yet we have still heard nothing from our State politicians on the issue.”

Cr Foster said DIER had developed a solution that would protect the integrity of the site, while minimising the negative impacts on the local community, transportation and the travelling public and Tasmanian taxpayers.

“DIER has determined that its only viable option was to construct the road on its current proposed alignment, or there would be no road at all.

“Any alternate route could require the demolition of up to 30 homes, with associated costs and disruption to residents and the broader Brighton community. It’s estimated it would add well over $100 million to the project cost.

“Along with DIER, Brighton Council recognises the important Aboriginal cultural heritage and archaeological significance of the Jordan River levee site and is determined that this should be protected.

“Indeed, once the cultural and heritage values were identified, DIER examined all possible alternative routes, but none were found to be practical or feasible. As a consequence, DIER significantly amended its design to ensure the protection of the important values contained in the levee deposits, with the construction of a $12 million, 70-metre bridge to span the site,” Cr Foster said.

“While there is no dispute that the site is of historical significance, containing 600 metres of stratified material, the bridge poses no disruption or dislocation to the site as it will be built over the top of the area of stratification.

“There is no better compromise available. The bridge ensures the site is protected and the community is not unduly inconvenienced.”

Cr Foster said the vast majority of the community supported the bypass and the solution developed by DIER including the majority of local councils, but the project was now held up awaiting the State Government’s decision.

“It is disappointing that our politicians don’t have the courage necessary to publicly support the department and the community on this important transport and safety issue.

“Rather than pandering to minority interests, it is time for our state politician to make a decision and end the delays impacting on this vital infrastructure project.”