Source: The Mercury, Friday, 8 December, 1995, pp.1-2


SAFE For another 70 years

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.


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