Government-industry partnership improves Pilbara road safety

The Australian and Western Australian Governments have joined forces with BHP to deliver safety improvements at three key rail crossings in the Pilbara.

Works include construction of two new 'road-over-rail' bridges, realignment of two major intersections and the construction of two new roundabouts, as well as removing three road and rail conflicts to significantly improve road safety and transport efficiency.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this was a great example of industry and all levels of government working together.

"The Morrison-McCormack Government will continue supporting job-creating, economy-boosting infrastructure as part of our Economic Recovery Plan for Australia, rebuilding our economy to secure Australia's future," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"The Government's record $110 billion transport infrastructure program and $3.5 billion rolling water infrastructure fund will support local jobs and businesses when it is needed most."

Western Australian Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said the projects would remove road and rail conflicts at three major rail crossings in the Pilbara.

"Upgrades to these crossings will improve safety for road and rail users, increase efficiency and reduce travel times while also supporting local jobs," Minister Saffioti said.

"This is a fantastic example of industry and government working together and it complements the $100 million we are spending every month on major transport infrastructure works in regional Western Australia."

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the Australian Government had committed $900.6 million to projects in WA under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

"By investing in Western Australian projects like these, the Australian Government is connecting agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs," Minister Price said.

"Greater connections and access will improve opportunities for greater regional employment and businesses growth in WA."

State Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel said the Pilbara was the engine room of the Western Australian economy and he was pleased to see works underway to support road safety.

"These upgrades will make a big difference for those of us who travel through the Pilbara on a daily basis," Mr Michel said.

"With works expected to be complete in mid- 2022, I can't wait to see the difference these upgrades will make."

The first of the key projects involves construction of a new 28-metre-long road-over-rail bridge, separating road and rail traffic at Nelson Point main line level crossing on Great Northern Highway in Port Hedland.

The project cost is estimated at $36 million and is funded by the Australian Government ($18.2 million), WA Government ($4.54 million) and BHP ($13.26 million).

Construction of a second bridge over BHP's rail line to the south at Buttweld Road will also be undertaken and funded by BHP.

The removal of the existing at-grade rail crossing will provide road users with additional safety benefits, improved journey times and a better alternative access for those travelling to and from South Hedland.

To complement the works, BHP has provided further funding to upgrade two intersections on Powell road to enable the closure of the remaining at-grade BHP rail crossing on Powell Road.

BHP's General Manager for Rail Operations Warren Wellbeloved said BHP was pleased to contribute towards the rail crossing project at Great Northern Highway and fully fund the removal of the level crossing at Powell Road and a new road-over-rail bridge at the Buttweld Road rail crossing. 

"BHP's total contributions will be in excess of $45 million, an investment that will deliver local jobs in the construction phase and lasting benefits to the Hedland community from a safety and a convenience perspective," Mr Wellbeloved said.