The Huon Highway and Sandfly Road intersection upgrade is moving along, with the contract awarded to local Tasmanian company Hazell Bros Group – paving the way for work to start in coming weeks.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project formed part of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments’ jointly funded $46 million stimulus package announced last June to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades.

“This critical project will upgrade the busy junction at the Huon Highway and Sandfly Road to improve road safety, better connect world-famous Tasmanian businesses to ports and markets and get people home sooner and safer,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“Not only will this provide much-needed jobs and economic stimulus for the region, it will deliver a longer-term boost for all those local industries relying on the route to rein in visitors and customers or get their goods to markets.

“This is fantastic news for the state, with this project being just the latest example of how our Government is rolling out projects under our record nationwide $110 billion infrastructure pipeline to lay the foundation for our nation’s economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.”

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson said the Sandfly Road intersection design included space for buses and trucks to wait safely in the centre median before turning, plus slip lanes and a deceleration lane to further improve safety and reduce congestion.

“The design also includes pedestrian, cyclist and car parking facilities, better access to the bus stops and improved lighting through the intersection,” Minister Ferguson said.

“Our government recognises the importance of the Huon Highway and is committed to improving safety and efficiency on this key regional route.

Assistant Minister for Industry Development Jonno Duniam said the Australian Government was pleased to work with the Tasmanian Government to deliver the safer road network Tasmanians deserve.

“The Australian and Tasmanian governments are moving quickly to deliver this project as soon as possible, supporting jobs and getting cash flowing to drive Tassie’s recovery following the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“The Huon Highway is a vital link to and from the Huon Valley, connecting major industry sectors such as tourism, forestry, aquaculture and agriculture with Hobart and beyond.

“Delivering safer, more efficient road networks will be key to helping these industries bounce back as we welcome visitors back into the state and continue to get our renowned local food and fibre to the rest of Australia and the world.

“Locals will soon be reaping the benefits of the improved intersection, with main works scheduled to start in early March and be completed by the end of the year.”

The $7 million Huon Highway and Sandfly Road intersection upgrade is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, with the Australian Government committing $5 million the Tasmanian Government committing $2 million.