Skip to content

Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information for Tasmania - www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au

Transport Services: visit Home
Close Menu

Latest update - Community thank you event to be held on 22 August

We are hosting a community thank you event to celebrate the re-opening of the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge.

We’d like to thank the local community for your patience during the work, and recognise the efforts of our contractors, suppliers, and stakeholders involved in the project.

Join us at Our Park in Orford on Sunday 22 August, from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm for a FREE afternoon of live music, food, and a video feature to celebrate the re-opening of the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge.

Tasmanian country/pop songwriter Ange Boxall will be performing on the day.

Ange is an east coast local who has performed throughout the USA, UK, Europe and Australia.

Based between London and Nashville for over a decade, she has co-written, recorded and performed with hugely successful songwriters and musicians, including J.D Souther of Eagles and Linda Ronstadt fame, multi-Grammy Award winner Jim Launderdale, and the late Bones Hillman of Australia’s own Midnight Oil.

We have also engaged a number of east coast providers who will be catering for the event, including Buckland Road House, Wattlebanks Coastal, Spring Bay Pizza, The  Fish Van - Triabunna, Rotary Tasmania, Wheel Good Mobile Coffee, IGA Orford and Lickalicious Icecream.

The event is free, but you will need to register your attendance to make sure we can keep the event COVID-19 Safe.

To register, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/community-thank-you-event-tasman-highway-reopening-tickets-166871317603

While this is a free community event, attendance is limited to the communities of the south east coast and those who worked on the project.

Friday, 30 July

The Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge near Orford has returned to normal operation earlier than anticipated, with the completion of repairs and other work after the removal of high-risk rocks overhanging the highway.

Both lanes of the highway are now open to traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a speed limit of 80km/h.

We recognise the impact the closure has had on the local communities and greatly appreciate their patience and understanding during this important safety project.

Friday, 23 July

Both lanes of the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge will be open to traffic in the evenings and on weekends starting from 6:00 pm Friday, 23 July.

Our contractors are replacing stormwater culverts along the Highway, and expect to complete these works on Monday, 26 July 2021. Following this, both lanes of the highway will be open to traffic from 5:30 pm – 6:00 am on weekdays (Monday – Friday) and all day on weekends (Saturday and Sunday). There will be a reduced speed limit of 60 km/h to ensure safety.

During our working hours, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday, only one lane will be open to traffic, with a 40 km/h speed limit to keep everyone safe while work continues.

Work to repair the stone wall alongside the Prosser River started this week and is expected to be completed by mid-August, weather permitting. Once this is completed, the road will be repaired, before returning the road to 24/7 two-lane operations.

Friday, 16 July

The next stage of work on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge is progressing well.

We have almost completed installation of mesh across the bottom of the rock face, to help prevent small rocks falling onto the road in the future.

Road repairs will also be completed early next week, and work is scheduled to start on repairing the stone wall alongside the Prosser River on Wednesday 21 July. To allow these repairs to be done safely, the single lane of traffic will be switched to the southbound lane (the one next to the rock face). Traffic management will change before the work starts and there may be a short delay for traffic while this happens.

The repairs to the wall are expected to take two to three weeks and, after they are completed, work will start on resurfacing the road and returning it to normal two-lane operation.

Road users are reminded to keep to the reduced speed limit of 40 km/h and comply with signs and traffic management controls to ensure everyone’s safety.  Work on the Tasman Highway continues seven days a week.

The number of vehicles travelling on this section of the Tasman Highway is now back to normal levels.

Once works at Paradise Gorge are fully completed, the Tasmanian Government will work together with other owners of Wielangta Road to explore the feasibility and estimated cost of sealing of the road. The Government will also work in partnership with other road owners to secure funding to complete the works.

Thursday, 8 July

The first vehicles have travelled through Paradise Gorge on the Tasman Highway following a six-week project to remove overhanging rocks.

Barriers were removed from this section of the road at 7:00 am today [Thursday, 8 July 2021] as scheduled.

We understand the impact this necessary work has had on local communities and thank them for their understanding during the road closure.

The project involved removing an estimated 2 000 tonnes of rocks that had been identified as posing a high risk of rock fall.

In addition to the rock removal works, a range of additional works have been completed both at the site and further along the Tasman Highway, including cutting back vegetation, cleaning roadside drains, replacing guide posts, repairing gabion walls and safety fencing, inspecting other rock mesh and restraints, and removing rubbish.

The cutting back and removal of vegetation means more of the rock in the area is now visible. All of the high-risk rock has been removed and we will continue to monitor the area both by regular inspections and remote monitoring systems.

Traffic is initially restricted to one lane along a 300-metre section where some final works are being completed before returning the road to normal two-lane operations.

These works include installing mesh on the rockface, repairing the retaining wall along the river and finally resurfacing the road, and are expected to take six weeks.

A 40 km/h speed limit and traffic management controls will be in place while this work is completed. While we appreciate there will be interest in the changed rockface, we ask drivers to pay attention to their speed and the traffic control measures, and other vehicles as work is continuing, and workers and machinery will still be operating in the area.

Wednesday, 7 July

We are completing work to allow the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge to reopen to traffic from 7:00 am on Thursday, 8 July.

Our final cleaning and initial road repairs are being completed to allow one lane to open under a reduced speed limit of 40 km/hr and traffic management controls from Thursday.

The project has involved the removal of a large amount of vegetation, which means more of the rock in the area is now visible.

We have removed all high-risk rock and we will continue to monitor the area by both regular inspections and remote monitoring systems.

Traffic controllers will be present to direct traffic through the 300-metre single lane section and mobile traffic lights will also be in place.

While we appreciate there will be interest in the changed rockface, we ask drivers to pay attention to their speed and the traffic control measures, and other vehicles as work is continuing, and workers and machinery will still be operating in the area.

This will ensure everyone’s safety, including those working to complete the final works and return the highway to normal driving conditions.

These final works include installation of a mesh fence on the rockface, repairs to the stone wall next to the river and, finally, resurfacing the road.

We thank you for your understanding during the road closure, and your continued understanding of the delays while the road is open under traffic management.

Monday, 5 July

The Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge will reopen to all traffic from 7:00 am on Thursday 8 July, with a reduced speed limit and traffic management.

Our work on clearing the road progressed extremely well over the weekend, with all the rocks, debris and gravel now removed.

We will initially open the road to one lane of traffic only, with a reduced speed limit of 40 km/hr for approximately 300 metres. Traffic will be guided safely through the site while works continue in the other lane.

Our investigations have shown that most of the damage to the road is limited to the road surface without affecting the road base, meaning the road repairs required are not extensive.

We expect the remaining work to take approximately six weeks.

We will continue to work tomorrow and Wednesday on clearing the site, doing minor road repairs, removing some vegetation, planting appropriate small vegetation on the lower slope and preparing for installation of mesh on the rock face.

While the road is open to one lane under traffic management, the mesh fence will be installed on the rockface, and the stone retaining wall will be repaired, and finally, the road will be resurfaced.

Road users should plan for delays of around ten minutes.

We thank the community for their understanding during the road closure, and their continued understanding of the delays while the road is open under traffic management, which allows us to open the road as soon as possible.

In the meantime, road users are reminded to drive to the conditions on Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

We will continue to monitor and maintain these roads while we work on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Friday, 2 July

Earthmoving crews will continue to work over the weekend with the goal of removing rock debris from the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge next week.

Work will then start to repair the Highway surface ahead of the planned re-opening to traffic in mid-July.

Good progress has been made in clearing about 2,000 tonnes of rocks and debris brought down from the rock face which posed a safety risk to road users.

Earth-moving crews have cleared the protective gravel cushion from about 70 metres of the highway and are starting to remove the main pile of rocks dislodged from the rockface, as well as the remaining gravel.

In promising news, damage to the section of highway cleared so far appears to be limited to the surface of the road without affecting the road base. However, the full extent of repairs required will not be known until the road has been completely cleared of the heavier rocks, and a full assessment done.

Wielangta Road received a full grading this week and we will continue to monitor Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road daily and make repairs as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Thursday, 1 July

As part of our plan to reopen the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge by mid-July, work continued today on clearing rocks and rubble from the road following the completion of works to remove rocks from the rock face. 

We are also doing additional maintenance works on other parts of the Tasman Highway while the road is closed. These works include trimming vegetation, clearing drains, upgrading road edges and repairing gabion walls.

Any works at the gorge that can be completed safely once the road is reopened will be scheduled and completed under traffic management including reduced speed limits and lane closures. We are doing everything we can to ensure the road can be reopened safely in mid-July.  

Also, today (Thursday) an end-to-end grading of Wielangta Road will be completed, which will help maintain the road’s condition so that the East Coast is continually connected to Hobart.  

We are continuing to monitor Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road daily and repairs will be undertaken as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Wednesday, 30 June

The clearing of rocks and rubble removed from the rock face at Paradise Gorge started today, with work remaining on track to reopen the highway in mid-July.

Crews are now removing an estimated 2,000 tonnes of rock material taken down from the rock face along with the approximately 2,000 tonnes of gravel laid as a cushion protecting the Tasman Highway.

The material is being loaded by excavators onto Moxy trucks, heavy duty dump trucks with a capacity of up to 40 tonnes, and shuttled to a nearby quarry. Some of the material will be used on site as reinforcement.

Once this work is completed, engineers will assess the road to identify any repairs required before reopening the highway.

A full maintenance grading of the entire length of Wielangta Road started on Tuesday and will be completed on Thursday.

We continue to monitor Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road daily and repairs will be undertaken as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Tuesday, 29 June

Earthmoving equipment will arrive on-site tomorrow [Wednesday] to start taking away the large amount of material removed from the Paradise Gorge rock face.

An estimated 2 000 tonnes of material has been brought down from the rock face in the past month as specialist teams worked to remove the potential safety threat to the Tasman Highway.

Some of the material will be used for stabilisation on-site with the rest shuttled by truck to a nearby quarry to be used in other roadworks in the region.

In addition to the rock, the gravel cushion protecting the road surface will be removed and the road assessed to identify any repairs required before reopening the Tasman Highway, which remains on-track for mid-July.

Work will also start soon on installing mesh across the bottom of the rock face to help prevent small rocks falling onto the road in the future.  This work will not delay the reopening of the road.

The Department continues to monitor Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road daily and repairs will be undertaken as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

For further information and regular updates visit www.transport.tas.gov.au/orford

Monday, 28 June

Work to clear up the site of rock removal at Paradise Gorge and reopen the Tasman Highway in mid-July is on track following good progress over the weekend.

Updated analysis shows that almost 2 000 tonnes of large rocks were dislodged from the rock face during the removal works.

Clearing of the lower levels of the rock face is now well advanced. Washing down of the rock face continues, using both helicopter water drops and high-pressure hoses.

Prisms have been installed on the rock face to monitor stability of the rocks during the works. Brackets have been fixed to the rock face for the longer-term monitoring system that will be installed soon.

Potholes on Wielangta Road caused by rainfall on Saturday night are being repaired today [Monday] and the road will be graded tomorrow [Tuesday].

The Department will continue to monitor Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road daily and repairs will be undertaken as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Friday, 25 June

Work will continue through the weekend on clearing the rock face of debris and removing vegetation at Paradise Gorge, with the reopening of the Tasman Highway still on track for mid-July.

The installation of monitoring sensors on the rock face is expected to be completed over the weekend. The sensors are a proactive risk management measure. They will remain in place after the highway is reopened to monitor the rock face for movement.

Forecast good weather will help the current work progress.

Wielangta Road has been graded and repaired following last week’s heavy rain. No major deterioration is expected over the weekend if conditions remain dry. Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road will continue to be monitored daily and repairs undertaken as required.

Road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for everyone’s safety.

If you encounter potential hazards on these roads, please report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Thursday, 24 June

Vegetation clearing and cleaning of the rock face is continuing as progress is made towards reopening the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge by mid-July.

A system is also being set up which can monitor fine movements in the remaining rock face. The Automatic Total Station will provide alerts for any changes in the stability of the rocks as the debris is cleared and the road is returned to a useable condition.

The system’s base station was installed yesterday and prisms will be installed in the rock face today. Any movement in the rock face is reflected by the prisms back to the base station.

As part of additional safety measures, mesh will be installed across the bottom of the rock face to help prevent small rocks falling onto the road in the future.  This work will not delay the reopening of the road.

Any works that can be completed safely once the road is reopened, will be scheduled and completed under traffic management such as temporary reduced speed limits and periodic lane closures.

We are doing everything we can to ensure the road can be reopened safely in mid-July.

We will continue to provide regular updates about the progress of works.

The condition of Wielangta and Lake Leake roads is being maintained and road users are reminded to drive to the conditions and comply with the speed limits for the safety of everyone.

Both roads will continue to be monitored daily and road users who encounter potential hazards on these roads are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Wednesday, 23 June

Cleaning of smaller rock shards and debris from the rock face is progressing at Paradise Gorge following the last of the major rocks that posed a risk to the Tasman Highway being removed.

Cleaning began at the top of the rockface and will progress until it reaches the bottom. The work at the top level is now complete and work will continue along the lower levels of the rock face over the coming days.

Sensors are also being installed as the cleaning and clearing process progresses. The sensors are a proactive risk management measure. They will monitor the rock face for movement, providing reassurance that it is safe to reopen the highway by mid-July, and will remain in place to monitor any future movement.

Once the rock face is cleared, it will be safe to start work on clearing the many hundreds of tonnes of rocks and rubble that have accumulated along the base of the cliff and on the road area, and the gravel cushion on the road will then be removed.

Grading of Wielangta Road has been extended and will be completed today.

Both Wielangta and Lake Leake Roads will continue to be monitored daily and any issues logged and repaired as required.

Road users who encounter potential hazards on these roads are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Tuesday, 22 June

Work teams are now focused on cleaning the rock face and installing sensors at Paradise Gorge after the last large rocks identified as posing a risk to Tasman Highway were removed at the weekend.

Installation of sensors is taking place in tandem with the cleaning process to ensure the highway is re-opened as soon as it is safe to do so.

The sensors are a proactive risk management measure. They will monitor the rock face for movement, providing reassurance that it is safe to reopen the highway by mid-July, and will remain in place to monitor any future movement.

Teams are also clearing vegetation at the top of the rock face to minimise the risk of tree roots creating future problems in the remaining rock.

The focus in the coming weeks is on completing the work necessary to make the area safe and reopen the highway. Additional longer-term measures will be undertaken after the highway reopens.

Clearing the debris is a challenging task and teams of specialists from different disciplines are working closely together to progress this work in the most efficient way.

Grading of Wielangta Road following the recent heavy rain will be completed today. Both Wielangta and Lake Leake Roads will continue to be monitored daily and any issues logged and repaired as required.

Road users who encounter potential hazards on either road are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Monday, 21 June

A milestone has been reached on the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge, with the final large rock brought down yesterday [Sunday, 20 June 2021].

An estimated total of 1450 tonnes of rock has been removed from the rockface overhanging the road in the three weeks since the road was closed.

This week the focus will be on continuing to remove the large amount of accumulated debris, including pieces of rock that litter the remaining ledges and slope.

The debris has collected during the rock removal works, particularly as rocks have broken as they fall. The removal of debris is an important part of these works, as these pieces of rock pose a potential threat to road users if not removed prior to the road being reopened.

Permanent monitoring sensors will continue to be installed this week to allow ongoing monitoring of the rockface in future.

Vegetation clearing and trimming will also occur, in the area of the rockface, but also along the length of the closed section of the Tasman Highway.

Road crews are also active, repairing damage to Wielangta Road caused by the heavy rain.

Both Wielangta and Lake Leake roads are being monitored and issues are being identified and repaired. Road users who encounter potential hazards on either road are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

Friday, 18 June

Work resumed on removing overhanging rocks on the Tasman Highway today after yesterday’s heavy rain.

Work to remove the remaining large rocks and cleaning and removal of debris from the rockface will continue over the weekend.

The debris has collected on the rock face during the rock removal works, particularly as rocks have broken as they fall. The removal of debris is an important part of these works, as these shards of rock affect the rock removal works and pose a potential threat to road users if not removed prior to the road being reopened.

Permanent monitoring sensors will also begin to be installed over the weekend to allow ongoing monitoring of the rockface in future.

The teams are working seven days a week when weather permits to minimise the disruption these essential safety works are causing to the community. The safety of our workforce and the travelling public remains our top priority.

Road crews are also active, repairing damage to Wielangta Road caused by the heavy rain. Work crews and machinery will remain on standby to keep the road safe and useable over the weekend.

Both Wielangta and Lake Leake roads are being monitored and issues are being identified and repaired. Road users who encounter potential hazards on either road are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

The public is reminded that conditions remain wet and they should drive with caution and comply with speed limits and traffic management to keep everyone safe.

Thursday, 17 June

Work is continuing on the Tasman Highway and to maintain the Wielangta Road, however today’s heavy rain has made working conditions challenging.

Wielangta Road was graded on Tuesday and Wednesday, but planned grading was put on hold today due to heavy rain impeding the works. The maintenance contractor is on standby to start repair works again first thing tomorrow morning (weather permitting), to keep the road safe and useable. Glamorgan Spring Bay Council were also on site today, clearing culverts to prevent a build-up of flood waters.

Both Wielangta and Lake Leake roads are being monitored and issues are being identified and repaired. Road users who encounter potential hazards on either road are encouraged to report them to the State Roads 24/7 hotline on 1300 139 933.

The public is again encouraged to drive to the conditions and comply with speed limits and traffic management to keep everyone safe. Road users are reminded never to drive through flood waters.

The removal of large rocks has continued this week, together with clearing of rock shards and debris from the rockface and slope.

The use of water drops, and now water jets, is greatly assisting with the clearing of debris which also pose a potential threat to road users. Sensors are being installed on this buttress to monitor future movement of the remaining rock face.

Heavy rain has affected works today, but the teams remain on standby and work will proceed when it’s safe to do so. As always, the safety of our workforce and the travelling public remains our top priority.

Wednesday, 16 June

Further rocks overhanging the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge were removed yesterday as work continues to make the road safe.

Water jet equipment has arrived and is being used to clear debris and shards of rock from the rock face to assist the specialist teams in their removal work.

In addition, further scanning has been undertaken to gauge the stability of the remaining rocks.

The rock removal process will continue this week provided it can be done safely in the weather conditions.

Once all the high-risk rocks have been removed, work will start on clearing the debris from the slope at the bottom of the rock face and the road. The road will be cleared of gravel and any necessary repairs made to the road and the retaining wall.

While weather conditions were challenging last week, work has progressed and our target continues to be mid- July for the Road’s reopening.

Road crews continue to monitor both Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road and repair any problems as they arise.

We have received reports of road users disobeying speed limits and traffic management controls on Wielangta Road, and putting themselves, our workers, and other road users at risk.

We again ask all road users to drive with caution on Wielangta Road, comply with all speed limits and other signage and treat road workers with courtesy as they work to maintain Wielangta Road.

Tuesday, 15 June

We've made good progress over the long weekend in removing rocks overhanging the Tasman Highway at Paradise Gorge despite steady rainfall.

Several large rocks were removed as our specialist teams now work on rocks that are harder to access.

Water bombing from a helicopter has also continued, helping wash away mud and gravel from the rock face. More specialised equipment is scheduled to arrive on-site today to help to remove larger shards of rock that have accumulated on the rock face during the removal process.

A silt curtain installed in the Prosser River to catch any sediment from the works has held up well despite the increased water flow in the river caused by the rain.

The rock removal process will continue this week ahead of further wet weather forecast for late in the week.

Once all the rocks posing a potential risk have been removed, we will start clearing the debris from the slope at the bottom of the rock face and the road. The gravel cushion will be removed from the road and any required repairs made to the road and the retaining wall. Additional vegetation will also be removed from the top of the rock face to help prevent tree roots causing future cracking in the remaining rock.

Our crews continue to monitor both Wielangta Road and Lake Leake Road and repair any problems as they arise.

Road users are again reminded to drive to the conditions on Wielangta Road, and to obey the speed limit and other traffic management controls to keep themselves, others and workers safe.

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.