Plans afoot to seal Tassie’s iconic Tall Trees Drive

Published: November 11, 2016
The road through the beautiful Wielangta Forest.

With Tasmanian tourism apparently booming and another summer influx of grey nomads on their way, authorities are looking at ways to improve the Tassie experience.

One of the things that looks likely to get the green light is a plan to boost visitor numbers to the Tasman Peninsula by pushing the iconic East Coast drive further south.

The Mercury newspaper reports that the State Government has taken the first steps to improve Wielangta Rd in a bid to provide a better link between the state’s East Coast and tourism attractions, including Port Arthur in the state’s South East.

Tenders have also been advertised for four new bridges along the 15 kilometre stretch of road that travels through vast forests between Orford and Copping. The bridge repairs are expected to start early next year followed by road resurfacing.

Improvements would allow for possible complete road sealing in the future.

In 2014 RACT chief executive Harvey Lennon nominated Wielangta Rd as one of Tasmania’s best drives, but with the downturn of the forestry industry, the road has been neglected.

A survey of councils prompted calls from the Local Government Association of Tasmania for former Forestry Tasmania roads to be upgraded as more tourists ventured into wilderness areas. The survey, conducted in 2015, found Wielangta Rd was regarded as substandard.

Premier Will Hodgman told the Mercury that Wielangta Rd – unofficially known as Tall Trees Drive – had the potential to be developed into an iconic destination for visitors.

“That’s why the Government is investing in upgrades and working with local councils to ensure ongoing management and maintenance of the road,” he said. “An upgraded Wielangta Rd will complement the investment we have made in developing the Great Eastern Drive and in supporting tourism and hospitality developments on the East Coast. The Government is committed to upgrading Wielangta Rd.”

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