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1Project update – 20 May 2020

Safety improvement works were finished in June 2019. A new safety barrier was installed along this section of the highway. Following completion of these works, some concerns were raised regarding the changed road environment and width available for cyclists through the upgraded junction area. The new roadside safety barrier was problematic for cyclists, many of whom use the Highway for commuting and recreational riding.

We have reconsidered the design so it is consistent with the remainder of the Highway.

This additional work will be done in two stages. The first stage of work, located directly next to the Apple Shed entrance has been completed.

Construction on the second stage of works will start from 25 May 2020 and is expected to be completed in late June 2020, weather permitting.

Works will include increasing the shoulder width and relocation of the road safety barrier which will result in safer road conditions for cyclists and road users.

We will be working from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Saturday.

2Traffic Conditions

There will be single lane closures and a reduced speed limit during the works, to keep our workers and all road users safe.

The speed limit will be 40km/h during working hours and after 60km/h after working hours for the duration of the works.

Road users should allow up to 15 minutes extra if travelling through the work site.

Please keep to speed limits and follow the directions of traffic controllers and signs.

3About the project

Why is the Department of State Growth doing work on this road?

The Tasmanian Government made an election commitment of $1.5 million for Huon Highway Priority Safety Upgrades.

Before the 2014 State Election, the Huon Valley Council identified in its State Election Strategy a number of locations on the Huon Highway for safety upgrades including:

  • Mountain River Road (Grove shop)
  • Willie Smith’s Apple Shed
  • Reid Fruits
  • Basin Road (which provides access to Hansen Orchards)
  • The Honey Pot
  • Dowlings Road (which provides access to Kate Hill Wines)

Of the locations identified by Council, the Apple Shed access has the highest crash history over a five year period. For this reason, the Apple Shed access has been given the highest priority for funding. During a five year period, there were four reported crashes where vehicles waiting to turn right into the Apple Shed were struck from behind.

The Huon Highway has experienced growth, with Huonville and the wider Huon Valley attracting tourists and commuters alike. The Apple Shed is a popular visitor destination and has experienced an increase in the number of visitors each year.

The projects will improve safety for all road users along this section of the highway by widening the road to provide safer turning movements for vehicles waiting to turn right.

4Environment and landscaping

There was a row of poplar trees on the southern side of the highway that have been removed. Advice from a tree specialist indicated that a number of the poplar trees were mature, in poor health and nearing the end of their lifespan, and that the required construction would damage the roots of the row of trees, further impacting their health and remaining lifespan.

The decision to remove the trees was based on this specialist advice, and the increased risk to road users from trees falling or dropping limbs.  

A number of design options were considered, but none allowed for the trees to be retained while ensuring the safety of drivers on the highway.

5New tree planting

Replacement poplar trees were planted in early July on a neighbouring landowner’s property.

6Other works

Dowlings Road safety improvements

These works involve widening the northbound lane to provide safer turning movements for vehicles waiting to turn right into Dowlings Road, which provides access to Kate Hill Wines.

Construction will start on 1 June 2020 and is expected to be completed in early July 2020, weather permitting. At this site we will be working from 7:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and on some Saturdays if required.

There will be single lane closures and a reduced speed limit through both work sites, to keep our workers and all road users safe.

Road users should allow up to 15 minutes extra travel time through both work sites.

Contact Details

For information about the project please contact the Project Manager Suk Maan Kong, on (03) 6166 3357 or by email at: info@stategrowth.tas.gov.au