ONE of Tasmania’s key freight links is getting a major upgrade. 

Work has started on improvements to the Zeehan Highway from its junction with the Murchison Highway to Henty Road in Zeehan to meet modern heavy vehicle standards. 

Heavy vehicles make up a high percentage of traffic on Zeehan Highway, with nearly 18% of the average 1,055 vehicles a day being trucks. 

The upgrade will improve safety by delivering two three-metre-wide sealed lanes, with one-metre-wide sealed shoulders and 0.5-metre-wide gravel verges. 

Construction is expected to be completed in May 2025. 

Federal infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government minister Catherine King said the west coast of Tasmania needed more funding for more reliable and safer highways. 

“West coast residents, freight industries and tourists will all greatly benefit for years to come from this work jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments,” she said.  

“The Australian Government is pleased to be contributing funding to this important project for the west coast region of Tasmania which needs more reliable and safer highways, especially for heavy vehicle traffic.” 

The works will widen curves, seal road shoulders, and provide gravel verges, together with more formal overtaking opportunities and strategically located pull-off and load checking sites for heavy vehicle users. 

The upgrade is the next stage of an almost $44 million initiative to improve the Murchison and Zeehan Highways. 

The Australian government is committing $35 million, while the Tasmanian government is contributing almost nine million to the project. 

A future stage will continue the upgrade north along the Murchison Highway between the Argent River and Ring River. 

These future upgrades between Rosebery and Zeehan will increase freight efficiency and reduce travel times, improving inter-regional connections to and from northern export ports in Tasmania, making the highways safer, and supporting tourism in the area.