Friday, 21 March 2008

Missing Link Found!!

A good many years ago, when John Cleary was in the Tasmanian Parliament, there was talk of building a road between the Huon and Derwent Valleys. It wasn't the first time, nor the last. There were already "roads" of sorts over the back of the Wellington Range, but they were mainly passable to trail bikes and 4WDs with good clearance. You can walk up Jeffreys Track for example, towards White Timber Mountain, but it would be very difficult in a 4-wheeled vehicle.

What they said they were looking for was a tourist link road to enable tourists to visit the Huon and then drive behind the Wellington Range into the Derwent Valley. I recently came across John Cleary's promotional pamphlet during a tidy-up. I've reproduced it here, so you can read what they intended.

You can see that one of the alternatives in Option 3 was a Judbury - Plenty Link. I think though, that the paragraph which reads "...any final decision will hinge on the Federal Minister's agreement for any route through the World Heritage Area" implies that the route across the corner of the Snowy Range was what they intended. I could point out that as well as linking two beautiful tourist destinations, it would also have linked the Huon/Weld forestry area with that in the Styx/Florentine very directly.

The Missing Link pamphlet facsimile - outside
The Missing Link pamphlet facsimile - inside

At the time, there was a deal of concern expressed that while the stated intention was to build a tourist road, the real intention was to build roads to enable greater extraction of trees. Of course, our politicians acted as if they were shocked that we could doubt their motives.

Start of the Plenty Link Road, beyond Judbury on Lonnavale Road - 15th March 2008Now, what many people don't know is that the Judbury - Plenty alternative in Option 3 was built a good many years ago, but some years after the time of this pamphlet and attendant debate. It isn't actually drawn in on the map in the pamphlet, despite being canvassed in the text, and I'm not sure why. (As I wrote that, I became suspicious. Terrible isn't it?) Out past Judbury, there's a road heading up the hill. It has often had a locked gate on it, but must be receiving forestry traffic again now. The photo shows the sign saying the road is closed to traffic.

The road was built as part of the connection between the Weld/Huon/Picton, Southwood (Also see here and here.) and New Norfolk. There was talk that it cost $4m. I found out about it because a friend was engaged on surveying the route. It was built with almost no publicity, and initially was open to traffic. I drove over it once to Plenty. It was a very good quality road, well built, but for lengthy stretches was made with quite coarse gravel. I suspect it would have worried the tyres of small cars. It's only there for forestry operations, not tourism. Surprise, surprise.

Anyway, the road isn't shown in the roads in the data held at the List and presented on the net. It isn't shown in Google maps as a road. It is however clearly visible in the Google Maps Satellite view.

View Larger Map

All in all, I'd like to know how the government justifies spending millions of dollars building a road over a high range of hills, but doesn't make it available to benefit the tourism that was the original motive for such a road. The existence of the road has been carefully ignored by government, if not actively concealed, since it was built. A letter to the editor of The Mercury just a few years ago, demanding that such a road be built, stood uncorrected by government. It hasn't been included in official maps, and is closed to the public. In fact it's just part of your hidden subsidy to the forest industry, and you can't use it.


monty said...

thanks for that we drove from new Norfolk to Judbury today on the plenty road in our magna sedan. great road. no problems at all

monty said...

thanks for that we drove the plenty road through the forest from new Norfolk to Judbury today in our magna sedan great road no problems

monty said...

thanks for that we drove the plenty road from new Norfolk to Judbury today in our magna sedan great road no problems

Mark said...

Good to hear it's open monty. I should go and drive over it again.

jarvo_325 said...

Where to do you start and finish from, in either direction. I would love to drive this but not sure where to begin. Do you need a 4x4?

Mark said...

Sorry for the delay jarvo. From Judbury head west along Lonnavale Road. The Plenty Rd is very obvious, heading to the right up the hill. I think it's maybe 5km along the road. It has a large gate on it, which may be open. If you get to Woolleys Rd, you've missed it. It's about 250m before Woolleys Rd. You can see it heading up the hill and into the treeline.

monty said...

no you do not need a four wheel drive . turn off to glenfern past new Norfolk on the road to national park only a couple kms about of new Norfolk. just keep following road to glenfern will turn into a dirt road. will meet a junction where there is two roads with gates both open. take the bottom road and just keep going will end up in Judbury. road is very good no big potholes. travelled in magna but passed smaller cars on the road

Jarvo_325 said...

Thanks guys

Im familar with Glenfern as I ride just up the rode at Mt Lloyd. Now I have some idea I will look into it a bit futher and plan my trip thru there. Thanks!!!

jarvo_325 said...

Done, what a road bloody beautiful well worth the drive!!! I don't think there is a car out there that couldn't travel this road to be honest. Passed one other car the whole way. Thanks guys