Stage 2 North West Coastal Highway upgrade underway

Media Release

JB007/2015

12 February 2015

Joint release with:

Mathias Cormann

Minister for Finance

Dean Nalder

WA Minister for Transport

Melissa Price MP

Federal Member for Durack

Work has begun on the 107 kilometre upgrade of the North West Coastal Highway between Mia Mia and Barradale, north of Minilya in Western Australia's Gascoyne region.

The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Jamie Briggs, and Western Australian Transport Minister, Dean Nalder, today announced that a design and construct contract for $69 million had been awarded to Brierty Bocol Joint Venture (BBJV) to carry out the upgrade.

The project is the second stage of a $218 million upgrade for North West Coastal Highway.

Mr Briggs said the Australian Government's significant financial contribution to the project recognised the importance of the North West Coastal Highway to Australia's economic growth.

“The upgrades will boost economic growth and performance in the mining, oil, gas and tourism industries because the highway is the main link between Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha, Port Hedland and beyond,” Mr Briggs said.

“This section of highway carries 500 vehicles every day with more than 37 per cent being heavy vehicles, and this number is expected to grow in the years ahead.

“This project will improve the productivity and safety of freight transport in north Western Australia and will deliver better roads for regional communities.”

Mr Nalder said Stage 2 of the North West Coastal Highway upgrades would enhance work already being undertaken south of Mia Mia as part of Stage 1 works announced in November 2014.

“This section of road will be reconstructed, widened and resurfaced between Mia Mia and Barradale, two passing lanes will be built to provide more overtaking opportunities and two all-weather bridge crossings will be constructed at Cave and Goodeman Creeks,” Mr Nalder said.

“The upgraded highway, as well as the new bridge crossings located between Barradale and Nanutarra, will improve the reliability and efficiency of freight movements and reduce the freight costs to resource operations and communities throughout the region associated with frequent closures.”

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said bridging works in Stage 2 will improve the reliability of the highway during the wet season and reduce the likelihood of closures, which affect the movement of food and freight in the Gascoyne, which grows horticultural produce for Perth and the Pilbara.

“This project will address the problems associated with predicted traffic growth, including heavy vehicles, and safety concerns, due to the age of the road and its narrow seal width.”

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the Australian Government is committed to investing in transport infrastructure projects, which support growth of the resources and agricultural sectors in Western Australia.

“With new mining developments in the Northern Gascoyne and Western Pilbara, traffic has grown significantly, and is forecast to continue growing by six per cent per annum.”

Design work for Stage 2 will start immediately and investigation work to verify gravel sources will be undertaken this month.

Road construction is expected to start in March 2015 and will take two years to complete.

The Australian Government delivered $174 million and the West Australian Government is contributing $44 million.