Traffic flows on upgraded North West Coastal Highway

Media Release

WT375/2015

18 November 2015

Joint release with:

Melissa Price

Federal Member for Durack

Dean Nalder

WA Minister for Transport

Jim Chown

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport

Stage 1 of the North West Coastal Highway upgrade is now open to traffic, improving safety for all vehicles travelling between the Minilya Roadhouse and Lyndon River.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the overall project will ultimately widen the North West Coastal Highway between Minilya and Barradale and provide two new bridges over low-level floodway crossings.

“The Australian Government recognises the importance of the North West Coastal Highway to Australia's economic growth and has committed $173 million to the $217 million overall project,” Mr Truss said.

“It is an integral transport link for industry, tourists and coastal communities in Western Australia's north-west, and will support increased freight movements from the growing Northern Gascoyne and Western Pilbara regions.”

Western Australian Transport Minister Dean Nalder said Stage 1 of the project had involved widening and strengthening this section of the highway, improving safety and decreasing travel times for all users.

“Stage two works will include widening and reconstructing the highway north of Lyndon River, as well as building two overtaking lanes and two bridge crossings at Goodeman Creek and Cave Creek. This upgrade will ensure motorists don't need to perform dangerous manoeuvres to overtake heavy vehicles, while also improving travel times for locals,” Mr Nalder said.

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the Stage 1 upgrade had been a real boost for the local economy.

“It has drawn on the skills of 24 local suppliers, while employment and training opportunities were provided to about 100 people at the project's peak, including 27 Indigenous workers,” Ms Price said.

“The North West Coastal Highway was built mostly in the 1960s and is the main link between the regional centres of Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha and Port Hedland. It carries around 500 vehicles every day, including more than 180 heavy vehicles, and traffic is predicted to grow in the coming years.

“The old, narrow highway was simply not good enough for this predicted growth and I am delighted to see the upgraded road now opened to traffic.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Western Australian Transport Minister Jim Chown said he was pleased to see investment made on local roads, with the upgrade set to improve connectivity for small towns along the highway.

“This highway is the key route along Western Australia's coastline. It links regional centres such as Geraldton with small communities located on the highway such as Cane, as well as other communities further north such as Pardoo,” Mr Chown said.

“I am looking forward to the completion of Stage 2 in early 2017 and a much better road network.”

The overall North West Coastal Highway project is being jointly funded, with the Australian Government contributing $173 million and the Western Australian Government $44 million.