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Constructed in the late 1960s, the Lyell Highway is the most direct route between Queenstown and Strahan and forms part of Tasmania’s Western Wilds tourism journey. The Lyell Highway also provides a social and commercial transport route linking residents and businesses.

The highway passes through difficult terrain, winding around the bases of steep hills, creeks and small rivers. It has many tight curves that do not meet today’s current safety standards and guidelines.

1About the project

This project is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments. The Australian Government has committed $15 million under its Roads of Strategic Importance initiative and the Tasmanian Government has committed a further $3.75 million towards the project.

The safety upgrade is focused on improving:

  • safety by creating opportunities for faster moving traffic to overtake slower moving vehicles
  • travel time reliability for commercial and social purposes between Queenstown and Strahan
  • the driving conditions for local road users, freight operators and tourists.

This safety upgrade includes eight stopping bays and four passing lanes, and other safety treatments such as adding new safety barriers, road signage and guideposts. The upgrade will also improve driving conditions by adjusting the road alignment, removing rocks or clearing vegetation in identified locations.

2Maps and Designs

The highway upgrade starts from the Queen River Bridge in Queenstown to the Harvey Street Junction in Strahan.

From January 2022 we decided to address the upgrade as one project, rather than the two stages originally planned.

The map in the link below shows the locations of the slow vehicle stopping bays and passing lanes. To improve driver safety we are also adding guide posts, line marking, and safety signage and barriers.

Driving conditions will also be improved by adjusting the road alignment, removing rocks or clearing vegetation in identified locations.

Lyell Highway (Queenstown to Strahan Safety Upgrade) Roll Plan.

3Community consultation now open

Community consultation now open

In early 2022 we decided to address the upgrade as one project, rather than the two stages, and have now started a second round of consultation on the plans for the whole upgrade.

You can view plans for the whole upgrade between Queenstown and Strahan here: Lyell Highway (Queenstown to Strahan Safety Upgrade) Roll Plan

You can provide feedback on the plans by emailing

The full upgrade plans are also on displays in the following locations.

Derwent Bridge:

  • Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel
  • Derwent Bridge Tourist Information Board

Lake St Clair:

  • Lake St Clair Visitor Centre


  • West Coast Council Office, Queenstown
  • Queenstown Library


  • West Coast Visitor Information Centre
  • Strahan Library
  • Strahan IGA
  • Strahan Post Office

Previous consultation

To better understand the upgrades needed for the Lyell Highway we have been consulting with the West Coast Council, the Tasmanian Transport Association and freight operators since 2020. We are continuing to engage with these key stakeholders as we progress the upgrade designs.

We held the first stage of community consultation in July 2021 on proposed locations for the slow vehicle stopping bays and passing lanes. We’ve summarised feedback received into the Lyell Highway Safety Upgrade - Stage one - Consultation and Feedback Report.


The upgrade will open for tender applications in July 2022. We plan to start construction late in 2022 and expect to complete the work by the end of 2024, weather permitting.

We are planning our approach for construction and will update road users and the community about the work details and possible traffic delays. You can also register for updates by emailing or follow the RoadsTas Facebook page


If you have any questions or feedback regarding the project, please email pitt&sherry’s Senior Stakeholder and Community Engagement Consultant Lorri Teepa at