What's happening with Bonnet Hill?
An update on the slow construction progress of the Channel Highway Safety Lane.
After years of lobbying, a petition by road users wanting uphill Safety Lanes resulted in 6000 signatures. The project started in 2013, with an initial 700 meters constructed from Browns River Bridge to the intersection of the Channel Highway and Proctors Road. A further 1.9 kms was completed in 2015/2016.
Work will start soon on constructing only 800 meters of the Channel Highway Safety Lane in 2016/2017. This leaves 1.5km to be constructed in 2018/2019. Six years to construct a 1.5 meter wide Safety Lane puts a new meaning to “things move slowly in Tasmania”!
The frustration of vehicle owners, whether cars, buses or trucks, regularly queueing up behind cyclists on the uphill grades, has resulted in many near misses when impatient drivers pull out over the double white lines. The real danger lies with cyclists competing with vehicles at the end of each safety lane section - there have been many near misses with cyclists taking evasive action onto the narrow verges.
Having to wait another two years for completion, particularly with the Hobart City Council finishing the Hobart to Taroona cycle lane by June 2017, is only going to increase bicycle volumes. Currently there is an average of 1800 cyclists using the Channel Highway weekly, and this is sure to increase with the completion of the HCC cycle lane. To entice people to “get on your bike” for getting to work or for pleasure particularly along the scenic Bonnet Hill safety lanes makes it imperative this project is completed by the end of 2017.
It’s not in construction terms a large project by any stretch of imagination, remembering the base design was completed in 2009 and the same design engineering company is still involved in the current work, so any design or geotechnical issues should well and truly be resolved.
It’s up to our Government to make it happen by the end of 2017 to complement the new HCC cycle lane for the safety of all road users or remain as the missing link