Tasman Highway closure at Paradise Gorge


The Tasmanian Government needs to pull its finger out and ensure Tasman Highway on the east coast re-opens to traffic “in days, rather than weeks”, says federal Labor MP Brian Mitchell.


From midnight Friday 28 May, the highway at Paradise Gorge south of Orford will close for an undetermined period to allow State Roads to repair and possibly remove elements of a steep cliff that could otherwise collapse onto the narrow section that runs through the gorge along the Prosser River.


This morning on ABC Radio, the General Manager of State Roads, Denise McIntyre, could not say how long the road would remain closed, including up to and beyond 12 weeks.


“I support the decision to close the road to ensure public safety but it is clear to me that State Roads does not understand the severe impact this closure is going to have on the east coast, particularly Orford and Triabunna.


“A closure that lasts weeks, or perhaps even months, is unthinkable. The state government must pull its finger out to get this road re-opened in days, rather than weeks.


“The east coast simply cannot afford for State Roads to move at a business-as-usual pace. Decisions need to be made and action taken immediately.

“Every resource should be brought to bear to ensure this road re-opens as quickly as physically possible, not as quickly as is convenient for State Roads.”


Mr Mitchell said the closure proved how important it was that Wielangta Road be permanently upgraded as an alternative east coast route.


“The state government must stop trying to handball responsibility for Wielangta Road onto cash-strapped local councils and do the right thing by east coast communities and make this road safe to travel on as an alternative route.”