North Esk Trail upgrade project underway

Published on 22 March 2022

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The City of Launceston is undertaking a $770,000 upgrade of the North Esk Trail which links Hoblers Bridge and Henry St.

The project involves reconstructing, raising and widening sections of the 1.5km trail to reduce the impacts of tidal inundation and to protect the wetlands bordering the pathway.

More than 3500 tonnes of gravel will be used in the project, which will also see the construction of new culverts and the installation of drainage pipes.

The project has been made possible through the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

This program supports local councils to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia, supporting jobs and the resilience of local economies to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Launceston Acting Mayor Danny Gibson said the project had two key aims.

"This popular shared trail runs along a tidal part of the North Esk River and in certain tidal conditions parts of the trail are inundated by the river," Cr Gibson said.

"That decreases the usability and functionality of the trail, but that tidal inundation is important for the ecological health of the wetlands behind the trail.

"If, for example, we were simply to raise the height of the trail, we could in effect be creating a barrier which would restrict water running through those wetlands.

"That would create significant issues for the species that rely on those wetlands, like the green and gold frog, the bittern, and a host of other birds, insects and flora.

"So what we are doing is constructing new culverts and installing new drainage pipes to allow that natural water inundation through the wetlands, while also raising and widening the trail itself."

Federal Member for Bass Bridget Archer said a wide variety of user groups regularly traversed the North Esk Trail — including cyclists, dog walkers, wheelchair users and joggers.

"This project provides an opportunity to widen sections of the trail so that it is more functional and safer as a shared pathway for those various user groups," she said.

"Once complete, this project will result in a more accessible trail that I'm sure will continue to be a popular recreational community asset for many years to come."

Cr Gibson said the project would significantly reduce the number of times the trail was inundated by tidal activity each year.

"The City of Launceston has examined the current trail heights using geospatial data and we've matched that to our tidal data to identify which sections need to be raised," Cr Gibson said.

The project is expected to be complete in mid-April, weather permitting.

While the trail will be closed to users during this time, the section linking Hoblers Bridge to the Hoblers Bridge Reserve off-leash dog exercise facility will remain open.