Source: The Mercury, Friday, 8 December, 1995, pp.1-2
By STEVEN DALLY THE Tasman Bridge will last for another 70 years - but peak-hour commuters will face reg- ular delays within five years because of over- crowding. Environment and Land Management Minister John Cleary said Transport Department advice showed the 31-year-old bridge was structurally sound. But the department's fig- ures showed the bridge would be regularly at its 5200-vehicle, peak-hour capacity by the year 2000. However, Mr Cleary said major structural changes costing well over $100 mil- lion, would be needed to increase the bridge's cap- acity. He said cheaper options including Derwent River commuter ferries, encourag- ing greater use of the Bowen Bridge, and focusing on Eastern Shore employment opportunities could ease pressure on the bridge. Preliminary Transport Department advice to the Derwent River Consultative Committee, which will release its final report on the bridge and transport issues early next year shows: THE bridge is structurally sound and would have at least 70 years useful life remaining. THE Lake Illawarra which remains underneath the bridge after the bridge disaster in January 1975 has only moved minimally and is not considered a threat. CRACKING in the con- crete structure is normal and is monitored and dealt with in the $370,000 annual maintenance budget. PEAK-HOUR capacity of 5200 vehicles has almost been reached, meaning longer travelling time across the bridge. THE number of vehicles crossing the bridge is increasing at 2% a year but the number of people remains the same. IN morning peak-hour the middle lane is under-utilised because drivers do not have confidence in the movable markers. THE number of accidents on the bridge attributed to Continued Page 2 Reporet finds Tasman Bridge is safe to use FROM PAGE 1 inattentiveness is three times as high as any other reason. Mr Cleary said the report should reassure people that the Tasman Bridge was safe to use. "There have been a number of rumours circulating on the East- ern Shore over the safety of the bridge and the committee wan- ted to allay these concerns," he said. "There is nothing more than one would expect with a bridge of this age and structure in re- lation to the stress and fractures in the concrete." Mr Cleary said a proposal for a cycleway to be slung under the bridge had been ruled out as it would interfere with the passage of ships through the bridge at high tide. Mr Cleary said no options for improving access across the Derwent should be ruled out. "There have been issues raised to achieving better utilis- ation of the Bowen Bridge, the ferry transport alternatives and creating more employment on the Eastern Shore to take the pressure off the bridge," he said. "I think it is very difficult to rule out any option at this stage although looking at duplicating the bridge would cost around $185 million, and any additions to the bridge would cost over $100 million ... so the cheaper options may well be more at- tractive." Clarence City Council Deputy Mayor Les Glover said it was essential those travelling across the bridge were able to do so with the knowledge it was com- pletely safe.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Representation
Numeracy in the News - Main Index