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Journeys : Aug Sep 2010
Street-smart We asked: Should Tasmania have passenger train services? Photos and interviews Kelly Madden Absolutely! There are parking issues in the city, the roads around the state are not the highest quality and then there is climate change, so it just makes sense that there should be more public transport. It needs to be part of an integrated approach. Morag Anderson West Hobart Yes, definitely, we need more public transport. We have got perfectly good rail tracks, we should use them. Michael Bessell Lutana I'm visiting from England and I think it would be good to have a train between Hobart and Launceston. In England I use the trains because it is a lot quicker. Anja Heaton England Idon't know, I suppose if you were in the city. We're in Smithton so we don't travel that far. Sherri Harvey Smithton Yes, because it's better for the environment. Ideally they would go all the way to Launceston but at least to the norther n suburbs initially. Pragati Jain West Hobart Yes, it's safer and more efficient and trains are beautiful. Richard Corry West Hobart A 'Clapper' bridge on Exmoor. Look familiar? Photo: Jim Marwood cheaper option was chosen, but civil engineers r ubbished the idea as 'a copy of bridges that were built in the Stone Age' -- a str ucture that could 'collapse like a pack of cards'. But the bridge piles would be set into the stable Tasmanian dolerite and siltstone bedrock. No worries -- contractors were hired. The 'Stone Age construction' began at the eastern end to allow continuing use of the floating road link and of the lift span for shipping to the Zinc Works. Then on a winter evening in 1963 the link almost snapped. A southerly gale tore a constr uction barge loose, to pound against the fragile concrete of the floating road. Hard, dangerous work saved the bridge, but r ush-hour traffic had to be diverted via Bridgewater and along the Old Beach road. Worse was to follow. The filthy weather dislodged a landslide that closed the narrow unlit easter n road. In the wet darkness the way became choked as drivers with car radios tried to turn around to take the long detour via Tea Tree, while less well-informed cars pressed on towards the blockage. The landslip was cleared. The chaos ended in a couple of days, but no lessons were lear ned. Soon 20,000 cars would be crossing the new bridge, but the East Der went road remained a goat track. Bellerive and Lindisfarne were growing fast as a dor mitory area for Hobart, but there was no alter native link for commuters. War nings about packs of cards were forgotten. A brief closure of the seaway was planned while the last piles went in to support the final pier. Best suits were brushed and mayoral chains polished for the grand opening. But as a geologist w rote after the event: Dolerite is not a rock to be taken lightly ... (it should not) ... be presumed that conditions will be consistent across a s i t e .* Drills broke into unsuspected sediment too soft to support a bridge. An artificial 'bedrock' had to be made by pumping dow n many tonnes of concrete. Already over budget, the cost of the finished four-lane bridge now exceeded the fifteen million dollar estimate for the rejected six-lane suspen sion bridge. Traffic flowed on two lanes in 1964 and the following year the bridge received its grand civic opening ceremony. At first admired, the span was gradually taken for granted -- until one evening ten years later, when it became world news and even influenced the nation's political future. But that is a story for another day. *Leaman, D. The Rock Which Makes Tasmania. Leaman Geophysics, Hobart, 2002 In our community 13 August / September 2010
RACT MNJ June July 2010
Oct Nov 2010