Outback flood recovery program rolls out to Olympic Dam Highway

Work has commenced on a project to repair the Olympic Dam Highway, as part of a program of works aimed at boosting the resilience of South Australia’s flood damaged outback roads and highways.

The recovery works are being rolled out following intense rain and subsequent flooding in early 2022 in the state’s far north and outback.

The program is aimed at repairing flood damaged road infrastructure, restoring national and state supply chains, and reconnecting remote and regional communities and industries to pre-disaster conditions.

The Targeted Investments to Improve National Supply Chain Resilience works are being jointly funded, with the Australian Government contributing $60 million and the South Australian Government tipping in $15 million.

Joint funding is also being contributed by both governments under their Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

The work will initially include the construction of a detour road, followed by the installation of improved drainage structures and scour protection, new road surfacing, line marking and safety barrier.

Works are already well advanced on the reinstatement of scoured material, new pavement surface and safety barriers on the Stuart Highway at Woocalla Creek, with final sealing and finishing works expected to be undertaken later this month.

Design works are continuing on the remainder of repairs and upgrades forming part of the program, which include:

  • Stuart Highway, Lake Windabout – installation of additional drainage, raising the existing road level, scour protection and installation of safety barrier.
  • Stuart Highway, Glendambo – installation of additional drainage, raising the existing road level and scour protection.
  • Eyre Highway, approximately 25 kilometres west of Kimba – installation of additional drainage, raising the existing road level and scour protection.
  • Outback Highway – raising the level of existing road alignment and pavement conditioning to enable it to withstand future flooding events.

Tenders for the construction of each upgrade are expected to be released in mid-to-late-2023, subject to design works.

Further project details, including construction timeframes, are still being determined through the design process.

Quotes attributable to Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“The Olympic Dam Highway is a critical route for this region. Residents of the connected towns, as well as local miners, farmers and tourism operators, need and deserve safe and reliable infrastructure.

“These communities have been hit hard by the impacts of recent flooding and extreme weather events, making investment in recovery works like these vital to the long-term resilience of our regional, rural and remote road networks.

“That is why we have committed funding, in partnership with the South Australian Government, to make these works happen – and I look forward to seeing communities reap the benefits of being better and more safely connected.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt:

“Repairing this infrastructure is a really important step in helping these communities recover from last year’s significant flooding.

“These floods exposed how delicate the supply chain is into some of our regional and remote communities, and this funding will ensure we can strengthen the essential infrastructure and improve the outcomes for these communities, should they experience similar flooding events in the future.

“The Albanese Government is working closely with the Malinauskas Government to support South Australian communities, and we’ll continue to do so.”

Quotes attributable to State Minister for Regional Roads Geoff Brock:

“In late January and early February of 2022, torrential rain and subsequent flooding in the northern and western areas of South Australia caused extensive damage to the road network.

“This widespread damage meant that extensive road closures were required across the region, which impacted local communities, business and tourists.

“The SA Department for Infrastructure and Transport and its contractors worked together under difficult conditions to quickly reopen the National Land Transport Network, key rural arterials and outback roads, restoring the vital movement of essential supplies across the nation.

“However, more permanent repairs and reconstruction works are still required to increase the strength and resilience of the road network for future flooding events.

“That’s why we’re rolling out a thorough flood recovery program across major outback highways and roads, and it’s great to see works kicking off on the Olympic Dam Highway this month.”