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"This 140km drive would highlight the Derwent and Huon valleys by giving Hobart-based tourists a scenic circuit that encapsulates much of Tasmania's diversity of attractions," Dr Woodruff said. "It includes wild mountain and forest scenery, riverside farmlands and excellent opportunities to sample the region's foods, wines and heritage," she said.
"This link road was identified as a priority piece of infrastructure in the Southern Tasmanian Integrated Transport Strategy 2010. As well as tourism, sealing this road would provide a more economic route for the transport of produce between the two valleys, and would shorten the driving time to the West Coast."
"In the wake of Prime Minister Rudd expressing concern for Tasmania's higher unemployment rate, this is the right time to get federal backing for a study by all three tiers of government into upgrading and sealing the existing all-weather road linking New Norfolk and Huonville. The roadworks, including bike lanes and completed road will offer regional jobs in both the short and long term. The first step is a feasibility and costing study, which could be completed this year."
Former Greens Leader Bob Brown said the "Two Valleys Tourist Drive" would complement the proposed Wellington walking track from Hobart to the Styx Valley over the Wellington Range. "This road and the track would intersect at the Plenty saddle between the two valleys offering a two to three day walk from Hobart," Dr Brown said.
In an interview on ABC Radio this afternoon, Dr Woodruff, a Huon Valley Councillor, acknowledged that the idea of sealing the road was not her own, and that the Huon Valley and Derwent Valley councils had been discussing the proposal. Both councils have sought funding for the roadworks from the State Government in recent weeks and the Derwent Valley Council has been seeking public comment on a proposal to rename the road.