West Tamar plan backs path review, new lanes

The Tasmanian Government has released a corridor plan for the West Tamar Highway which recommends more improvements to on-road cycling lanes and further consideration of an off-road path.

The plan says the government should act on the strong support for an off-road path from Bicycle Network, RACT, Tamar Bicycle Users Group and 14 other submissions.

The final recommendations say: “this alternative option needs further consideration, both in concept design and further stakeholder engagement”.

And the action plan rates it as a high priority, recommending further planning and design work happen.

Bicycle Network supports improvements to on-road facilities considering the high number of road cycling along the route, but an off-road or separated cycleway is essential for providing the growing population with transport alternatives to car driving.

An off-road path would provide the majority of the population with the option of riding or scooting, as most people who want to ride don’t want to ride on roads without separation.

Potential first stage of Legana path

The plan also puts forward some hope for an off-road path to be built from Legana to Acropolis Drive as part of recommended road widening.

The Department of State Growth has a policy to build cycling infrastructure as part of any new road project along a recognised cycling route.

This opens the door for the department to include the start of a new off-road path as part of the widening project, which is rated as a high priority in the action plan, with the recommendation to commence detailed design and delivery of the project.

The plan specifically mentions the West Tamar Council’s Trails Strategy and the need to consider conditions for future trails to be constructed.

On-road improvements

The plan recommends new on-road cycling lanes between Launceston and Cormiston Road in Riverside to formalise routes and improve safety for riders by removing car parking.

This includes a dedicated northbound cycling lane between Margaret Street and Pomona Road and both northbound and southbound cycling lanes between Pomona Road and Cormiston Road, replacing the current wide shoulders where cars park.

The one exception to this is the intersection with Forest Road where the government would need to acquire land to widen the road reservation to ensure the 1.5 metre land could continue through.

The plan rates this project as a high priority but is still recommending further planning and design rather than commencement of delivery.

Speed limit review

The other potential benefit for people riding is a review of speed limits, which are generally recommended to be reduced.

This was deemed a high priority in the action plan and recommended that the changes happen as the next step.

There is no funding for the corridor plan but it will be used to apply for federal funding opportunities and to help plan future state government funding commitments.