A tunnel through the main range (including on the eastern …

Comment on A bridge too far? A tunnel may be the answer. by Alex Nelson.

A tunnel through the main range (including on the eastern side, too) is an idea almost as old as the hills 🙂
Conversely there have also been a number of proposals over the years to dam Heavitree Gap; and indeed, in 1952, it was suggested that all the gaps and gorges should be dammed to create an enormous reservoir stretching through the MacDonnells.
That idea was suggested just over a decade before the discovery of the Mereenie aquifer.

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A bridge too far? A tunnel may be the answer.
All of this was discussed and researched in the mid 1980s, with the (then) NT Department of Works conducting tests in the bed of the Todd River at Heavitree Gap for suitability of construction of a four-lane flyover.
The NT Government announced in May 1986 that it would proceed with a roundabout at the north entrance to Heavitree Gap, alterations to South Terrace, and a new bridge just downstream of, and replacing, the Casino Causeway (Taffy Pick Crossing).
Public consultation was undertaken during 1987 about road developments through Heavitree Gap, with ultimately a model of a four-lane flyover displayed for public comment late that year.
Then we got hit with the Easter flood of 1988 and the NT Government completely changed its priorities in favour of a full flood mitigation dam at Junction Waterhole north of town. We all know where that ended up.
Moreover, Alice Springs failed to grow anywhere close to the extent originally envisaged 30-plus years ago, so the pressure was off the government to continue with any of these plans with the exception of the Tom Brown Roundabout and nearby road alterations built in 1994.
A tunnel or tunnels through the main range isn’t a realistic prospect, and I doubt it makes economic sense. The Heysen Tunnels near Adelaide were probably the most cost effective option for road transport in that vicinity.
The fact is that the west side of Heavitree Gap has long been compromised and can never be returned to a “pristine” condition. It’s also the path of least resistance for practical and economic reasons for any future developments, as far as I can tell.
I can’t see the point in “restoring” Heavitree Gap into a “pristine” condition by punching tunnels through the ranges. It’s a nonsense proposition.
In the long run there will probably be a need to widen the road through Heavitree Gap, and I expect that will most easily be achieved by a bridge structure that perhaps could include the existing laneways.
However, it’s difficult to see any chance of that happening for a very long time.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

PowerWater, Territory Generation CEOs sacked
@ Evelyne Roullet (Posted December 9, 2019 at 11:47 am): Yes, we can sack the government but we just have to wait patiently for the NT elections in August next year.
I think there’s more than a few of us willing to wield lethal pencils on the ballot papers.

65 years of history now a pile of rubble
@ L Westerdale (Posted December 5, 2019 at 11:57 am): You say the old high school was only used for its intended purpose for 20 years?
Alice Springs Higher Primary School (equivalent to modern middle schools), 1953-60 – that’s eight years; then Alice Springs High School, 1961-72 – that’s another 12 years; then Anzac Hill High School, 1987-2009 – another 23 years.
Hmm, let’s see: 8 + 12 = 20; then 20 + 23 = 43. Yep, that’s right, 43 years as an upper primary and secondary school, not including the overlap with other roles and functions.
As recent national media reports have noted, Australia’s performance in secondary education of science, maths and reading is declining and below the average of OECD nations (and it seems some adults are the ones showing the way for today’s students).
As a nation we have a low regard for science and education, and in the Northern Territory we far prefer to preserve old gaols than we do old schools – a fact never better demonstrated than under the current Gunner Government which has overseen the rejection of two heritage nominations for former schools.
What was the Labor slogan from about two decades ago? Something about Australia being a “clever country?”

Claire Hockridge found dead
@ Ted Egan (Posted December 4, 2019 at 7:55 am): “When will they ever learn?”
We live in a time where the recent arrivals all know better than those who have lived here for far longer.
Experience, and the knowledge borne from it, counts for very little – almost nothing – in this age of tertiary tyranny where everything requires little tickets of paper with extra letters after your name to “prove” you know anything.
It’s not just hapless people lost in the bush who fall victim to this stupidity, just look at the general situation with so many well-paid qualified professional experts in charge of it all.
Such people can’t afford to learn anything for fear of looking inadequate in front of their peers.
And thus ineptitude and incompetency reigns supreme over us all.

Pastoralist finds alive the second of the three missing
It’s a matter of considerable concern that the bogged vehicle was located in a creek bed about 22 km east of the Stuart Highway in the vicinity of Stuarts Well, as that is not far to go to seek help.
Many years ago I crashed my car on a remote track 30 km west of Giles Weather Station – it’s the only vehicle accident I’ve ever experienced (touch wood) but fortunately the worst I suffered was injured pride.
However, my predicament was that I had travelled 15 km from a junction on the main road and it was late February, the hottest time of year.
To cut a long story short, I ended up walking about 29 km back to Giles (I got a lift for the last kilometre) which I did in a day.
I knew where I was and which direction I had to go.
The fact that the missing people near Stuarts Well set out to walk 22 km westwards towards the Stuart Highway almost a fortnight ago suggests something has gone seriously wrong.

Land planning favours developers, says residents group
A major feature of the history of NT Self-Government is the control of planning by the government of the day to suit the requirements of developers.
It has always been perceived that only development, and especially that of major projects, is beneficial for the economic growth of the Northern Territory.
The track record of the NT under Self-Government demonstrates clearly this is simply false – the bigger the projects, the less the Territory benefits.
Nowhere has this been more convincingly demonstrated than that of the Ichthys/INPEX project, by far the largest industrial project in the Territory’s history, and a major policy development of the previous Labor administration under Chief Minister Paul Henderson.
The legacy of that project continues to be economic devastation for Darwin.
For virtually the entire period of NT Self-Government there has been in practice an unnamed and unspoken policy that I call “Wreck and Rebuild”.
“Wreck and Rebuild” is characterised by the practice of destroying existing buildings and infrastructure to make way for new developments that are always held out to represent a major new phase of economic progress, that it’s great for jobs and progress.
This unofficial policy has reached new heights of absurdity under the current Gunner Labor Government with the demolition of the former Anzac Hill High School and proposed land swap with the Alice Springs Town Council for the Civic Centre, which in large part is no more than 13 years old (built under the Martin Labor Government).
These projects are being touted as “good for the economy” and “providing jobs” etc.
No, it’s snake oil and needs to be called out for what it truly is – government-sanctioned official corruption, as history under NT Self-Government unequivocally and abundantly demonstrates.

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