Highway Upgrade Sees Freight Capacity Soar

Media Release

WT119/2014

23 July 2014

Joint release with:

Melissa Price

Federal Member for Durack

Brendon Grylls

WA Member for Pilbara

Road Trains and commuters are experiencing faster and safer trips on the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland, with works on a $260 million upgrade now complete and open to traffic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price and Western Australian Member for the Pilbara Brendon Grylls today to officially open the eight kilometre realignment.

Mr Truss said the Australian Government's investment in this section was one of many productivity-boosting projects funded by the Government on Australia's longest highway.

“This is part of the Perth-Darwin freight corridor, and is a vital link between our resources industries and export ports like Port Hedland,” Mr Truss said.

“We are delivering the infrastructure Australia needs to move freight safely and efficiently on our highways to international markets, to ensure we have a more prosperous future.”

Ms Price said the upgrade made the highway safer for all road users by separating commuter traffic from road trains entering the port and industrial areas.

“The upgrade also supported around 250 jobs during construction, including up to 40 local sub-contractors, which is a boon for Port Hedland and the surrounding region,” Ms Price said.

“This has been a project that ensures at all levels, from local workers to the national economy, that we have a more prosperous future.”

Mr Grylls said this stretch of the Great Northern Highway is used by more than 15,000 vehicles each day.

“The local Utah Point port facility has grown significantly. Just two years ago around 300 road trains accessed the port each day—this project will allow more than 800 road trains to access the port each day,” Mr Grylls said.

“Without our investment in this infrastructure, that kind of growth in our freight network would not be possible.”

The Australian Government provided $190 million to the project and the Government of Western Australia provided $70 million.