Huon Highway Grove Right Turn Lane
The Department of State Growth is improving safety on the Huon Highway along the Grove straight, near the Willie Smith’s Apple Shed (Apple Shed). The southbound lane towards Huonville will be widened for approximately 300 metres, to make room for a dedicated lane for vehicles turning right into the Apple Shed. A small pull-off area for vehicles turning left into the Apple Shed will also be sealed.
Project update – January 2020
Safety improvement works were finished in early June. 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.
The Department of State Growth has reconsidered the design and will remove the barrier and seal the road shoulder 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.
The second stage of work is in the planning phase and we will be carrying out field investigations to inform the design for the removal of the remaining safety barriers.
These will be happening between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm and expect to complete the investigations in one shift between Monday 20 January and Tuesday 21 January, weather permitting.
About 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.
Environment 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.
New tree planting
Replacement poplar trees were planted in early July on a neighbouring landowner’s property.
The next locations for safety upgrades are:
- Dowlings Road which provides access to Kate Hill Wines. This involves widening the northbound lane to provide safer turning movements for vehicles waiting to turn right into Dowlings Road. This project is in the planning phase. Construction is proposed for 2020.
- The northern access to Reid Fruits. This involves widening the southbound lane to provide safer turning movements for vehicles waiting to turn right into Reid Fruits. This project is in the early planning stage.
Upgrading both these locations will allow straight ahead traffic to safely move past vehicles waiting to turn right.
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For information about the project please contact the Project Manager Suk Maan Kong, on (03) 6166 3357 or by email at: email@example.com
Updated: 13 Jan 2020