Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney has welcomed construction upgrades totalling $218 million on the North West Coastal Highway beginning this month.
The upgrades will support local jobs and increase the economic performance of the highway which is the main link between Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha and Port Hedland.
“The North West Coastal Highway is a vital link to the north of our State and the widening of the road surface will play a key role in helping drivers complete long distance hauls safely,” Mr Blayney said.
“The Stage 1 works will involve widening 9 kilometres of highway, and resurfacing and widening another 28 kilometres between Minilya and Mia-Mia.
“Stage 1 works will also see the existing 6.2 metre wide seal increased to nine metres, including a one metre wide sealed shoulder.
“The project will also improve the efficiency and safety of freight transport in north Western Australia, as well as providing improved access for regional communities.
“Upgrading this major freight route is also essential to supporting economic growth and driving further investment in the State’s mining, oil and gas industry.”
Road builder Maca Civil Pty Ltd has been awarded a $25.3 million contract to undertake major construction works on Stage 1 between Minilya and Mia-Mia.
This section of highway carries 500 vehicles every day with more than 37 per cent being heavy vehicles – a number which is expected to grow in the years ahead.
Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the North West Coastal Highway upgrade also includes the construction of two bridges over low-level floodway crossings at Cave Creek and Goodeman Creek between Barradale and Nanutarra.
“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,” Ms Price said.
“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.”
New mining developments in the Northern Gascoyne and Western Pilbara, has had a significant effect on traffic growth, and this is forecast to continue growing by six per cent per annum.
Works on Stage 1 of the North West Coastal Highway upgrade are scheduled for completion prior to October 2015with reasonable weather conditions.
The Australian Government has committed up to $174 million to the project with the Western Australian Government funding the remaining $44 million.