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As part of its work to maintain a safe road network, the Department of State Growth has been proactively monitoring the stability of rocks above the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge near Orford.

In late May, the Department received expert advice that a detailed survey of the area had identified that there was a need to investigate removal of rock to manage the risk of a rock fall. There was also a risk that severe weather, including heavy rainfall or frost, could result in a rock fall.

With frost forecast in the area for the early morning of Saturday 29 May 2021, the road was closed from 11:55 pm Friday to ensure that everyone stayed safe, and to enable rock removal to start.

Latest update - Friday 11 June

Drive Safely on Wielangta Road this long weekend.

The Department of the State Growth is reminding motorists to drive to the conditions on Wielangta Road this long weekend.

The Department is regularly maintaining Wielangta Road to ensure it remains safe and it's important that motorists obey the speed limit and traffic management controls, to ensure they keep themselves, others and workers safe.

Reduced speed limits are for your safety and the safety of road workers.

The standard speed limit on Wielangta Road has been reduced to a maximum of 60 km/hr for the safety of road users outside of work sites.

While it has had a higher speed limit in the past, due to the Tasman Highway closure, it is expected that more people will travel on Wielangta Road, leading to an increased mix of traffic, including heavy vehicles.

Road users may be required to give way when approaching sections or bridges on Wielangta Road that are too narrow for two vehicles to pass safely, and, because of the higher use and the winter weather, sections of the road may deteriorate meaning it's important to slow down and drive carefully.

Some sections of the road are also quite slippery, and the speed limit in these sections has been reduced to 40 km/hr.

Many of the people who travel on Wielangta Road during the closure will not be familiar with the road and its conditions and it's important to note that the lower speed limits will not significantly increase travel times, but they are essential to keep you, our workers, and other road users safe.

Rock removal work on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge will continue to progress while conditions allow. The safety of both our workers and the travelling public is our highest priority.

We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work and will provide regular updates at all key milestones.

We thank everyone for their patience while we complete these important safety works.

1Project updates

Latest update - Friday 11 June

Drive Safely on Wielangta Road this long weekend.

The Department of the State Growth is reminding motorists to drive to the conditions on Wielangta Road this long weekend.

The Department is regularly maintaining Wielangta Road to ensure it remains safe and it's important that motorists obey the speed limit and traffic management controls, to ensure they keep themselves, others and workers safe.

Reduced speed limits are for your safety and the safety of road workers.

The standard speed limit on Wielangta Road has been reduced to a maximum of 60 km/hr for the safety of road users outside of work sites.

While it has had a higher speed limit in the past, due to the Tasman Highway closure, it is expected that more people will travel on Wielangta Road, leading to an increased mix of traffic, including heavy vehicles.

Road users may be required to give way when approaching sections or bridges on Wielangta Road that are too narrow for two vehicles to pass safely, and, because of the higher use and the winter weather, sections of the road may deteriorate meaning it's important to slow down and drive carefully.

Some sections of the road are also quite slippery, and the speed limit in these sections has been reduced to 40 km/hr.

Many of the people who travel on Wielangta Road during the closure will not be familiar with the road and its conditions and it's important to note that the lower speed limits will not significantly increase travel times, but they are essential to keep you, our workers, and other road users safe.

Rock removal work on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge will continue to progress while conditions allow. The safety of both our workers and the travelling public is our highest priority.

We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work and will provide regular updates at all key milestones.

We thank everyone for their patience while we complete these important safety works.

Thursday, 10 June

We are working every day during the current wet weather to keep Wielangta Road useable while the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge is closed for rock removal.

The road is subject to frequent grading and rolling to keep it useable and it is important that road users drive with caution and stay within the posted speed limits.

The road is open to both four-wheel-drive and two-wheel-drive traffic; however, the public is reminded it is a gravel road currently experiencing increased traffic. Driving with extra care helps keep everyone safe.

While Wielangta Road remains open for use, the public is encouraged to use Lake Leake Road, which provides a safer and easier journey. Both alternative routes continue to be monitored, with any issues logged for quick repair.

The rock removal teams continue to work whenever weather conditions allow. Their safety remains top priority.

Some allowance was made for the forecast bad weather in estimating the time required to complete the remaining rock removal and reopening the road in mid-July.

We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as this important safety work proceeds. We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work.

Wednesday, 9 June

Rock removal works are continuing at the Tasman Highway through Paradise Gorge despite rain.

The wet weather may cause some deterioration to the condition of Wielangta Road; however, the road remains open to both four-wheel and two-wheel drive vehicles.

We are continually monitoring both Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road during the closure through both regular and ad hoc inspections, with increased inspections scheduled during periods of bad weather. Any issues are identified and scheduled for repair.

The road was graded last weekend in preparation for the wet weather, and we have a grader on standby to make immediate repairs when required.

Road workers are on site daily undertaking maintenance activities including grading and rolling works, and the speed limit may be reduced while they conduct these important safety works.

We ask all road users to drive with caution on Wielangta Road during the wet conditions this week and comply with all speed limits and other signage.

Reduced speed limits and other traffic management at roadworks sites are important for protecting road workers, and also to reduce the risks to the travelling public. The need to reduce speed may not be obvious, but reduced speed limits are for your safety and the safety of road workers.

The Department is maintaining Wielangta Road to ensure it remains safe during the Tasman Highway closure and the subsequent increase in traffic on this gravel road. While Wielangta Road can be used by general access vehicles, Lake Leake Road will be a smoother, safer, and easier journey.

Rock removal work will continue to progress while conditions allow for this to occur safely. The safety of both our workers and the travelling public is our highest priority.

Significant progress has been made, with a number of ‘high risk’ rocks removed. The next phase includes removing some of the more difficult to access rocks and cleaning the rock face and slope of the large amount of loose debris and broken boulders.

This debris has collected during the rock removal works as pieces of rock break off the falling boulders. The debris includes pieces of rock ranging from the size of a basketball to a bar fridge.

Once all identified high risk rocks and debris have been removed, sensors will be placed on remaining rocks to provide notification in the future if there is any further movement on the rockface.

We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as this important safety work proceeds. We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work. Road users advised that emergency road closures are communicated through the Tasmania Police Community Alerts page. For up to date advice on weather-related road closures, we recommend visiting police.tas.gov.au/alerts

Tuesday, 8 June

The Tasman Highway near Orford is expected to reopen in mid-July, following work to remove rocks and improve safety at Paradise Gorge.

Significant progress on rock removal has been made, which has allowed the experts to estimate how much more rock needs to be removed and how long that might take.

The next phase of the project is focussed on removing some more difficult to access rocks, and then cleaning the rock face and slope of the large amount of loose debris and broken boulders.

We recognise the road closure is impacting the community and apologise to everyone affected. Our first priority is the safety of road users and the workers, who are working hard to complete this complex and hazardous work quickly.

It is important to note that the closure may be longer, depending on weather, how the rest of the rock removal and road clearing goes, and the extent of damage to the road and retaining wall.

It is only once all the rocks and gravel have been removed that we will be able to do a full assessment of the wall and the road and work out what repairs will be needed.

We will keep you updated and let you know as soon as possible about any changes.

Road users are reminded to drive with caution on Wielangta Road during the expected wet conditions this week. Wielangta Road was graded over the weekend to prepare for the expected rainfall and the road condition will continue to be monitored and the road repaired if necessary. Road users should drive to the conditions and comply with speed limits and other signage.

Monday, 7 June

Specialist crews continued rock removal at the Tasman Highway, near Orford, over the weekend.

This afternoon helicopters began dropping water on the rock face to remove loose gravel, small rocks and debris. This material has collected over the past few days as a result of rock removal works and needs to be removed to access the remaining rocks. The helicopter helps us to do this work faster than by hand and will improve safety for our workers and will continue to be used when required during the works.

Once this important safety work has been completed, work will continue on dropping rocks from the rock face.

There is some damage to the retaining wall next to the Tasman Highway but it is only once all the rocks and gravel have been removed that we will be able to do a full assessment of the wall and the road and work out what repairs will be needed.

Unlike the stone wall alongside the Convict Trail on the northern side of the river, the retaining wall does not appear to be convict built and is not heritage listed. However, the Department appreciates the wall has local significance, and has measures in place to minimise damage to the wall and the road, including concrete barriers and a gravel ‘cushion’ on the road. The Department will continue to protect the wall wherever possible.

Wielangta Road was graded over the weekend, however road users are advised to drive with caution on Wielangta Road during the expected wet conditions this week.  Road users should drive to the conditions and comply with speed limits and other signage.

We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as this important safety work proceeds. We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work. For further information visit www.transport.tas.gov.au/orford

Sunday, 6 June

We’re continuing work today, removing overhanging rocks on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge.

Yesterday’s (Saturday's) works went well, with a number of rocks removed safely, and grading works completed on Wielangta Road.

Over the weekend we brought in more specialist crew members from interstate to relieve the current crew. This will help us manage fatigue and keep our workers safe, and also make sure we can continue to work seven days a week.

The falling rocks have caused some damage to the stone retaining wall. We won’t know the extent of the damage until the rock removal works are complete. We have measures in place to minimise damage to the wall and the road, including concrete barriers and a gravel ‘cushion’ on the road,  and will continue to protect the wall wherever possible.

Once the rocks have been removed, and the gravel cushion and barriers removed, we will be able to assess the damage to the wall and the road surface and do any necessary repair works.

We also have a floating ‘silt curtain’ in place in the river and geofabric on the road surface, which will capture any sediment and help protect the waterway.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work to make the highway safe for all road users.

Saturday, 5 June

Our crews continue to work through the weekend to safely and effectively remove overhanging rocks on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge.

We will also complete grading Wielangta Road today, in preparation for wet weather forecast over next week. Please drive to conditions if you choose to detour via Wielangta Road. Lake Leake Road remains the safest detour and we encourage you to use this route until the Tasman Highway reopens.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to work to make the highway safe for all road users.

Friday, 4 June

Our specialist work crews continued work today to bring down overhanging rocks on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge. More rock removal works will take place over the weekend.

If you plan to use Wielangta Road as a detour, please remember that we have started grading the road today and work will continue tomorrow, Saturday 5 June. Please plan ahead for delays of up to 10 minutes. Please drive with extra caution and obey traffic controllers and signs.

Lake Leake Road remains the safest detour and the public is encouraged to use this route until the highway reopens.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as this important safety work proceeds. We will continue to keep the public updated on progress of the work.

Thursday, 3 June

We brought down a number of large rocks overhanging the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge today.

Industrial airbags were inserted behind the rocks, slowly pushing them from the rock face and causing them to fall safely to the gravel cushion that was put in place to protect the road and retaining wall.

These are the first of many rocks that need to be removed. We will learn how much rock needs to be removed from this section as the rock removal works continue.

Once all the rocks and gravel have been removed, we will be able to assess the state of the road and get a better idea of when Tasman Highway will reopen.

The first rock to be removed today had previously been identified as a potential risk. It had been anchored by cables and regularly inspected. A recent inspection found flaws in the section of rocks supporting this anchored rock that posed an increased risk of rockfall, prompting the decision to act. This section contains several other rocks.

Lake Leake Road remains the safest detour and we encourage you to use this route until the highway reopens. However, we recognise that Wielangta Road is seeing increased traffic during the road closure, and have organised safety works to maintain its condition.

We will grade Wielangta Road tomorrow, on Friday, 4 and Saturday, 5 June 2021. The grading will involve machinery moving along the road with “stop-slow” traffic controls where work is taking place.

Please plan ahead for up to 10 minutes of delays. Please follow signs and directions of traffic controllers and drive to the posted speed limit.

Tuesday 1 June

We have been busy over the weekend setting up a safe worksite, and putting in protections for the road, the retaining wall, and the Prosser River.

On Saturday we set up monitoring devices along the rock face. These will monitor the rocks for movement to make sure our workers stay safe from falling rocks during the project.

On Sunday and Monday trucks shuttled about 2000 tonnes of gravel, which has been laid on the Tasman Highway to act as a protective ‘cushion’.

This will help protect the road from falling rocks and prevent lengthy or costly repairs to the road surface. It means that when all the rocks are removed, we can clean up the site and get the road open quicker.

On Sunday we also put in concrete barriers and put ‘geofabric’ on the road to prevent gravel and debris from ending up in drains and waterways.

By the end of the week, we will put a ‘silt curtain’ in the river, which will catch any debris and act as a final protection for the river in case any gravel gets through the geofabric and barriers.

On Monday afternoon we started delivering equipment, clearing away vegetation, and setting up safe access for workers from the top of the rock wall. We will continue doing that today and tomorrow, and into Thursday depending on the weather.

Once all those works have been finished, we will start work to drop the rocks from the cliff face.

Friday 28 May

The Tasman Highway will be closed from 11:55pm tonight, Friday, 28 May due to the risk of the forecast frost affecting the stability of rocks along Paradise Gorge.

Starting around 10am on Saturday, 29 May (after the frost has thawed) we will be installing monitors on the rock face. These will monitor the rocks for movement while we work, to make sure our workers stay safe from falling rocks during the project. On Saturday we will also be working to set up a safe access to the top of the cliff face.

On Sunday, and maybe on Monday as well, there will be a lot of truck movement between the work site and the Orford Quarry. Trucks will be shuttling back and forth to collect gravel, which we will lay on the Tasman Highway to act as a cushion and protect the road from the falling rocks. We will also install concrete barriers, which will protect the road and the retaining wall from damage.

On Monday through to Wednesday contractors will start removing loose debris and smaller rocks from the cliff face, and clearing vegetation from the top of the cliff, to help set up a safe worksite.

We won’t know exactly how much rock needs to be removed until we start removing rocks and looking at what lies behind them.

We recognise this will impact the community and apologise for the inconvenience, but the closure is essential to keep everyone safe.

We know the community is eager for more information about how long the closure will be in place and we will keep you informed at every stage of the process.

2About the project

About the project

As part of its work to maintain a safe road network, the Department of State Growth has been proactively monitoring the stability of rocks above the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge near Orford.

In late May, the Department received expert advice that a detailed survey of the area had identified that there was a need to investigate removal of rock to manage the risk of a rock fall. There was also a risk that severe weather, including heavy rainfall or frost, could result in a rock fall.

With frost forecast in the area for the early morning of Saturday 29 May 2021, the road was closed to ensure that everyone stayed safe, and to enable rock removal to start.

The road closure impacts traffic in both directions between Buckland and Orford. Once closed, the road will not reopen until the rock has been removed. The process of rock removal will make the road completely impassable through the project site until works are completed

The Department started works to remove the rock on the weekend of 29 - 30 May starting with site set up and preparation works, including protecting the road from the falling rocks by installing concrete barriers and a ‘gravel’ cushion on the road. Rock removal started on Thursday 3 June and is ongoing. The next phase of the project is focussed on removing some more difficult to access rocks, and then cleaning the rock face and slope of the large amount of loose debris and broken boulders.

Once all the rocks, gravel and debris have been removed we will be able to assess the condition of the stone retaining and the road surface, and work out what repairs will be needed.

The work is complex and will take some time.

We will keep the community and key stakeholders informed throughout the works

We know this will affect local communities and will cause significant disruption for many, but the Department’s priority is the safety of the public.

Traffic from Hobart will need to access the East Coast via Lake Leake Road. Detour signage has been installed at key locations.

While Wielangta Road can be used, it is a gravel road and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic. Road users should drive to the conditions and obey the posted speed limits.

To report a safety hazard on the State road network or on Wielangta Road, call 1300 139 933.

3Contact

Information about financial support packages for businesses affected by the closure of the Tasman Highway can be found on the Business Tasmania website.

If local businesses affected by the closure have any questions or would like further information they are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or ask@business.tas.gov.au

To report a hazard on the state road network, or for information about the closure, contact 1300 139 933.

To receive email notifications throughout the project, sign up to our mailing list.

For information about public bus services and school bus services in the area please visit the Public Transport service updates page or call  03 6166 3343 and select option 3.

For information about schools, call 03 6165 6466, or visit your local school’s Facebook page.

4Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on Friday, 11 June 2021

About the decision

What is the risk?

The Department received a report on 19 May 2021. The report did not specifically suggest the rocks would fall straight away but found that the rocks could have fallen any time in the next 10 years, and this could be brought on by severe weather such as strong frost or heavy rain.

There is a large volume of rock which could cause extensive damage if it were to fall and would be a significant risk to anyone using the road at the time.

We recognise the road closure is impacting the community and apologise to everyone affected, but our highest priority will always be to keep people safe.

Why wasn’t there more notice?

Recent detailed investigations of the rock face showed that there is a high risk that rocks could be dislodged by frost or significant rain.

Once this advice was received, we began developing a plan for the safe and efficient removal of the rock, while minimising the length of road closure as much as possible.

The weather forecast for the weekend of 29 and 30 May became more certain over the week of 24 May, with frost predicted in the Orford area on that weekend. The forecast frost meant the decision was made on the morning of Wednesday 26 May to close the road and announced early that afternoon.

We recognise the closure is impacting the community and apologise to everyone affected, but the closure is essential to keep everyone safe.

How did you decide there was a risk?

The Department recently ordered further detailed investigation of the area to help better understand any risk.

This investigation used modern aerial photography and scanning technology which provided new information, that there is a risk that rocks could be dislodged after frost or heavy rain.

When was the Department first advised of the danger?

The Department first received notification from its consultants of the increased risk level late Wednesday afternoon, 19 May 2021. There was no frost or significant rain forecast at that time.

Why haven’t the rocks been removed before now?

We have been monitoring the rocks in the area for some time and the information available did not show any significant risk of rockfall, including from the large boulder currently restrained by cables.

To ensure we had the best information available, earlier this year we implemented additional regular inspections of the boulder and also commissioned new technological investigations.

While the initial investigation found that the boulder had not moved and there was no increased physical risk, the aerial survey, which was completed very recently, raised the risk for rockfall of nearby and supporting rocks.

Once this advice was received, we have been developing a plan for the safe and efficient removal of the rocks.

Unfortunately, even if this risk had been identified earlier, the same removal works would be required, so the impact to the community from the road closure could not have been avoided.

About the closure

When did the road closure start?

The road was closed at 11:55 pm Friday, 28 May.

When will the road reopen?

The road is expected to reopen in mid-July, following works to remove the rocks and repair the road and retaining wall.

It is important to note that the closure may take longer, depending on weather, how the rest of the rock removal and road clearing goes, and the extent of damage to the road and retaining wall.

It is only once all the rocks and gravel have been removed that we will be able to do a full assessment of the wall and the road and work out what repairs will be needed.

We recognise the closure is impacting the community and apologise to everyone affected, but the closure is essential to keep everyone safe.

Could the closure be delayed?

The closure needed to happen to remove the immediate hazard to the public travelling through the area.

Why is the road closed for so long?

Our first priority is the safety of road users and our workers, who are working hard to complete this work quickly.

The work is complex and will take some time, with hundreds of tonnes of rock to be removed.

Significant progress on rock removal has been made, which has allowed the experts to estimate how much more rock needs to be removed and how long that might take.

The next phase of the project is focussed on removing some more difficult to access rocks, and then cleaning the rock face and slope of loose debris and broken boulders.

Once all the rocks and gravel have been completed, we will be able to do a full assessment of the stone retaining wall and the road and work out what repairs will be needed.

It is important to note that the closure may be longer, depending on weather, how the rest of the rock removal and road clearing goes, and the extent of damage to the road and retaining wall. We will keep you updated and let you know as soon as possible about any changes.

Do you really have to close the road 24/7?

While we acknowledge the impact on the community and apologise to everyone affected, the closure needs to happen for public safety reasons.

A gravel ‘cushion’ has been laid on the road to prevent it from being damaged by falling rocks and it will remain in place until the rock removal work is complete. The gravel cushion, and the large rocks being dropped from the cliff face make the road impassable.

We apologise for the inconvenience, but this route will be impassable until the works are completed. Our biggest priority during these works is to keep everyone safe.

Can you leave one lane open?

The road closed at 11:55 pm Friday 28 May 2021 and will only open once all the rock has been removed. The process of rock removal will make the road completely impassable until works are completed.

Our biggest priority during these works is to keep everyone safe. Once rocks begin to be removed from the cliff face, other rocks may become less stable and it is impossible to predict where each rock will fall. We apologise for the inconvenience, but a full road closure is required to complete the works safely and effectively. This route will be impassable until the rock removal work is complete.

Can I access the Prosser River?

Our biggest priority during these works is to keep everyone safe. In order to safely manage the worksite, MAST issued a notice that made the Prosser River a prohibited area from 11.55 pm Friday 28 May 2021 until further notice.

We will share photos and videos throughout the works so the community can keep up to date with our progress.

Can I access the convict trail?

Our biggest priority during these works is to keep everyone safe. In order to safely manage the worksite while we are removing the rocks, the convict trail across the Prosser River is closed.

We will share photos and videos throughout the works so the community can keep up to date with our progress.

Can I come and watch the rocks being removed?

Our biggest priority during these works is to keep everyone safe. There is no public access to the worksite. The Department is regularly updating the Transport website and RoadsTas Facebook page with photos and video footage from the site.

Alternative routes

What alternative routes are in place?

Road users wanting to travel to the area must seek alternative routes, including Lake Leake Road.

While Wielangta Road can be used, it is a gravel road and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic.

Detour signage is located at key points along the Tasman Highway, including at Sorell, and the Lake Leake Road junction between Swansea and Bicheno.

What will the road closure add to the journey time between Hobart and Orford?

The detour will add about 2 hours to the journey from Hobart to Orford.

For people accessing Swansea from Hobart, it should add about 30 minutes to their journey. We understand the impact that these longer detours will have on the community and apologise for the inconvenience, but our priority will always be to keep everyone safe.

Can I use Wielangta Road as an alternative route?

While Wielangta Road can be used, it is a gravel road and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic.

We have placed detour signage at key points along the Tasman Highway, to advise people to use Lake Leake Road as the most appropriate alternative route.

There is no mobile phone coverage for most of Wielangta Road.

During periods of higher use and bad weather, sections of the road may degrade and require repairs. We are continually monitoring both Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road during the closure through both regular and ad hoc inspections.

While the journey along Wielangta Road may be shorter in terms of distance, Lake Leake Road will be a smoother, safer, and easier journey.

If you do use Wielangta Road, please drive to the conditions, and obey the posted speed limits and warning signs. If you notice a hazard or issue on Wielangta Road, you can call our hotline on 1300 139 933, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call centre operator will take down details of the issue and log it in our system for repairs.

What are you doing to keep Lake Leake Road and Wielangta Road safe during the closure?

We have done maintenance and improvement works on both Lake Leake Road and Wielangta Road, including putting extra road markers and signage in place, and grading and laying new gravel on Wielangta Road.

We will also be treating Lake Leake Road to prevent ice forming whenever ice or frost have been forecast, and we have snow ploughs on standby if there’s a chance of snow falling.

Our contractors are regularly inspecting these roads, and will log any issues for immediate repairs. If you notice a hazard or issue on the State road network or on Wielangta Road, you can call our hotline on 1300 139 933, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call centre operator will take down details of the issue and log it in our system for repairs.

Can heavy vehicles use Lake Leake Road as an alternative route?

Most freight that usually travels on the closed section of the Tasman Highway will be able to use the Lake Leake Road detour.

Heavy vehicle operators who have concerns or questions about available detours should contact hvaccess@stategrowth.tas.gov.au for a conversation about their particular circumstances.

Has Wielangta Road been upgraded?

Given the potential of it experiencing increased traffic during the closure, we have been working with Wielangta Road’s owners to do immediate maintenance and improvement works.

The works included grading the road, laying new gravel in sections, and putting extra road markers, barriers and signage in place. We have also reduced the speed limit on Wielangta Road and have transport inspectors in place at either end of the road to monitor traffic and provide information to the community.

While Wielangta Road can be used, it is a gravel road and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic. During periods of higher use and bad weather, sections of the road may degrade and require repairs.

We are continually monitoring both Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road during the closure through both regular and ad hoc inspections.

Any safety issues will be logged during these inspections and then fixed, and we have a grader on standby to make immediate repairs when required.

To report a safety hazard on Wielangta Road or Lake Leake Road call 1300 139 933.

Why is the speed limit reduced on Wielangta Road

The speed limit on Wielangta Road has been reduced to 60 km/hr to keep everyone safe.

While it has had a higher speed limit in the past, Wielangta Road is a gravel road and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic. Due to the road closure, it is expected that more people will be travelling on the road. Road users will have to share the road with more people than before, including heavy vehicles, and, because of the higher use, as well as the winter weather, sections of the road may deteriorate.

Some sections of the road are also quite slippery, and the speed limit in these sections has been reduced to 40 km/hr.

Many of the people who travel on Wielangta Road during the closure will not be familiar with the road and its conditions. People should drive with care, and comply with the speed limits.

The lower speed limit will not significantly increase travel times, and it is needed to keep everyone safe.

Can you put a ferry service on?

We spoke to local ferry operators to see whether a ferry service was feasible. Their advice was that a ferry service was not feasible and wouldn’t save any time on a trip between Triabunna and Hobart.

The coastline is subject to very rough weather, and the journey would be unpleasant. A ferry trip between Triabunna and Dunalley would take between two and three hours, followed by a 50-minute trip by car to Hobart.  All up, the trip by ferry and car from Triabunna to Hobart would take between three and four hours. The trip from Triabunna to Hobart via Lake Leake road would take about three hours in total.

About the Rock Removal works

What are you doing to fix the problem?

Rock movement monitoring and preparation work is complete. Work to establish safe access at the site and prepare for the rock removal began on Saturday 30 May and was completed on Wednesday 2 June. The rock removal started on Thursday 3 June and is continuing. Once all the rocks and gravel have been removed, we will assess the condition of the road and make any necessary repairs to the road and the retaining wall.

How much rock needs to be removed?

We are looking at a section of the rock wall about 75 metres long, and 20 metres high.

Rock removal started on Thursday, 3 June.

We know the public is eager for more information about the closure and will keep the community informed at every stage of the process with regular updates.

Why aren’t you using explosives to dislodge the rocks?

The rocks we need to remove are part of a complex rock formation through the gorge. It is important that we remove the rocks safely, efficiently, and without causing damage to the surrounding environment.

The best way to do this is to dislodge the rocks using airbags.  Some of the rocks may be too large to pick up from the road using an excavator or truck.  If necessary, larger rocks may be broken up using an expanding cement that is placed into drill holes in the rocks.  This causes the rock to crack into smaller pieces.

What is being done to protect the environment?

We are doing whatever we can to protect the natural environment.

We are preventing gravel, soil, and other materials from falling into the river by laying geofabric on the road and drains, before placing a gravel ‘cushion’ on the road to prevent it from being damaged by falling rocks. In case materials do fall in the river, we are also installing a floating curtain in the river to capture any sediment.

What about the retaining wall?

There is some damage to the retaining wall next to the Tasman Highway. Once all the rocks and gravel have been removed that we will be able to do a full assessment of the wall and the road and work out what repairs will be needed.

Unlike the stone wall alongside the Convict Trail on the northern side of the river, the retaining wall does not appear to be convict built and is not heritage listed. However, the Department appreciates the wall has local significance, and has measures in place to minimise damage to the wall and the road, including concrete barriers and a gravel ‘cushion’ on the road. The Department will continue to protect the wall wherever possible.

I have heard that there are old explosives in the rocks.

We do not have any evidence to indicate that explosives are present in the area, and no drill holes or explosives have been found at the site. Appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure the work takes place safely.  We will continue to monitor the situation and stop work if any evidence of explosives is found.

Is the work being done a permanent fix or a short-term solution?

The work we are doing now is to remove the immediate risk posed to traffic travelling through the area if rocks were to fall onto the Tasman Highway. We’re also working to develop a long-term management plan for the area to ensure it remains safe and accessible.

How can I get updates about the work?

We will be publishing information about the works on the following platforms:

We will also provide updates to media outlets.

Impacts on other services

What will the impact be on buses?

We are working closely with bus companies, the heavy vehicle industry, the Department of Education, tourism operators, businesses, and residents to understand their needs and provide and work through alternatives.

For information about public bus services and school bus services in the area please visit the Public Transport service updates page or call 03 6166 3343 and select option 3.

What will the impact be on emergency services?

We have been working with emergency services and they have their own procedures in place.

What about schools?

We have been working closely with the Department of Education, who are putting in alternative arrangements for school children affected by the closure.

You can find more information by phone on 03 6165 6466, or through your local school’s Facebook page.

What if my business is affected?

Information and application forms about financial support packages for local businesses affected by the closure of the Tasman Highway can be found on the Business Tasmania website.

If affected businesses have any questions or would like further information they are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or ask@business.tas.gov.au

Contact information

Information about financial support packages for businesses affected by the closure of the Tasman Highway can be found on the Business Tasmania website.

If affected businesses have any questions or would like further information they are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or ask@business.tas.gov.au

To report a hazard on the state road network, or for information about the closure, contact 1300 139 933.

To receive notifications throughout the project visit the RoadsTas Facebook page, or sign up to our mailing list.

For information about public bus services and school bus services in the area please visit the Public Transport service updates page or call 03 6166 3343 and select option 3.

For information about schools, call 03 6165 6466, or visit your local school’s Facebook page.

5Bus Services

For information about public bus services and school bus service in the area please visit the Public Transport service updates page.