Department of State GrowthTransport

Infrastructure Investment Plan Stream 3

Freight efficiency

The challenge

The efficient movement of freight is fundamental to state economic productivity and improvements to road freight efficiency benefit all Tasmanians and hence the priority given by the Tasmanian Government to the development of an Integrated Freight Strategy as an important step in addressing barriers to productivity and job creation in Tasmania.

Freight is primarily transported within Tasmania by road and 82 per cent of all freight moved within the state is transported on the State Road Network.

Ageing bridge infrastructure poses a risk to current freight access levels of service as older bridges were not designed to withstand the stresses caused by modern heavy vehicles and load limits are applied if the condition of a bridge deteriorates.

Bridge strength and road width are the most common factors that limit heavy vehicle access to the State Road Network (limiting heavy vehicle weight and length respectively).

It is not affordable to provide the same level of heavy vehicle access across all state roads and therefore investment to sustain or improve road freight efficiency must be based on strategic merit.

Actual and projected growth in heavy vehicle demand from 2002 to 2030

Actual and projected growth in heavy vehicle demand from 2002 to 2030, measured as average daily heavy vehicle movements (AADTT).  Little or no growth in freight vehicle demand is forecast for the majority of the State Road Network but the Category 1 network will become increasingly important for freight movement.

Investment Plan

Ensure current levels of heavy vehicle access are maintained on the state’s Category 1 and Category 2 strategic freight network through bridge strengthening or replacement as required.

This includes replacing the Bridgewater Bridge and cease operating the lifting span to address the current high risk of unavailability due to potential failure of the lifting mechanisms.

The Investment Plan will also:

  • provide opportunity for improved freight efficiency between Brighton, Bell Bay and Burnie by 2025 by testing and strengthening bridges on the Category 1 network where required  
  • provide further freight efficiency improvements by upgrading the Midlands and Bass Highways to enable safe access by more efficient freight vehicles by 2035  
  • strengthen bridges outside the strategic freight network to maintain current heavy vehicle access levels of service where possible.  

To maintain or increase heavy vehicle access on regional routes, the Department of State Growth will pursue opportunities to work with Local Government to resource detailed bridge analysis for specific freight tasks, provide asset input into innovative heavy vehicle designs that can maximise freight  efficiency using existing infrastructure and facilitate prioritisation of funding for regional bridge investment irrespective of asset ownership.

View the program details (PDF)

For information about the Infrastructure Investment Plan Streams, please refer to the following: