Western Explorer shut for summer

Councillor Ashley Popowski at closed Western Explorer Road on Monday.

Tourism. Councillor Ashley Popowski says he is appalled at the length of time it will take to repair damage caused by a recent landslip on Western Explorer Road.

“It’s astounding and disgraceful that it will be five more months, our peak tourism season, before we can expect the Western Explorer to be repaired and reopened,” he said.

“We hear from all, how important tourism is to our economic future, but I don’t see any action to back this up,” he said.

DIER corporate affairs manager Suzie Jacobson said she understood people and businesses were suffering, however safety took precedence.

“The road is extremely dangerous,” she said. “Worse than it was when we first closed it. The road at the moment is virtually gone.”

Ms Jacobson said there is no easy solution. “DIER is committed to doing something to this road, but it can’t be done quickly.”

Geotechnical experts were at the site last week, and will be again next week to gain a better understanding of what the best solution is.

Cr Popowski said he was particularly upset the State Government was not helping. “How can the State Government treat our businesses and visitors with such contempt?

“I am sure if there was a road closure in Davey Street, Hobart and the Government members were forced to accept a wage reduction for the next five months, then there would be immediate action to remedy the problem.”

However, Ms Jacobson said that no matter where the road was, safety of workers and road users in general, took precedence.

Cr Popowski said he also had signage concerns. “I have also received unfavourable comments from tourists with the lack of information about the road being closed,” Cr Popowski said.

“They were very annoyed with having to travel an hour and 55 kilometres from Smithton, down the road to find the first sign indicating that the road is in fact closed, then to return, delaying their journey to the west coast by a whole day.

“The confusing, unreadable, slow electronic sign placed at Whiltshire is inappropriate. Surely a couple of signs closer, on Trowutta Road and an announcement on the Spirit would help.”

Ms Jacobson said signage amendments had been put to the Cradle Coast Authority, which would soon approve additional semi-permanent signage in the area.

 

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