Jun 21, 2012

Great Northern Highway Upgrade Set to Kick-Off

Work on a major upgrade of the Great Northern Highway through Port Hedland will begin in late August following the awarding of the $220 million contract.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Western Australian Transport Minister Troy Buswell announced today that the $220 million design and construct contract had been awarded to Macmahon Contractors, with the entire project expected to be completed in mid-2014.

“This important road project will realign the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and South Hedland around the Wedgefield industrial precinct,” said Mr Albanese.

“With the Federal Labor Government providing almost three quarters of the funding, this project is recognition of the Pilbara Region’s significance to our nation’s continuing prosperity and is just one of many currently underway across the State.  All up, we’ve nearly doubled Federal infrastructure spending from $154 to $261 per year per West Australian.”

Preconstruction activities such as detailed design works and site investigations will begin immediately.

Mr Buswell said the project would deliver important safety enhancements and transport efficiencies at Port Hedland.

“This has been in the planning for several years with the design concept developed by Main Roads WA in close consultation with the local community and stakeholders,” he said.

“Traffic volumes on this link have grown by 25 per cent in the last three years, to an average of 15,000 vehicles per day.  This is a mixture of 53.5 metre road trains and light vehicles.

“In particular the development of the port’s Utah Point berth and new mines at Abydos, Mt Dove and Phil’s Creek suggest that an additional 360 road trains per day will be seeking access.

“This project will improve access to the port areas, improve safety for local commuters between Port Hedland and South Hedland and enable the road network to cope with future growth in both the town and region.”

Key features of the Great Northern Highway (GNH) Realignment project include:

  • construction of approximately 8 km of single carriageway (one traffic lane in each direction) including cycle lanes/sealed shoulders;
  • modifications to the GNH/Port Hedland Road intersection to a grade separated interchange (including a bridge taking Port Hedland Road traffic over GNH);
  • provision of an at-grade access to Utah Road;
  • provision of access off GNH by constructing intersections to the Wedgefield Industrial Area at the Pinga Street intersection, Area H of the Port area, to Landcorp Transport Development Area adjacent to the GNH,  access to  the Horizon Power Hedland Terminal, BHP Billiton Rail Maintenance Depot, FMG Rail Facility, and to South Hedland via Hamilton Road;
  • construction of a bridge over the BHP Billiton rail line including allowances for future rail expansion;
  • construction of two low level bridges over South Creek;
  • major drainage works including large culverts in the road embankment to allow for water run-off and tidal flow;
  • relocation or protection of any affected services;
  • street lighting at major intersections;
  • installation of signs and line marking works;
  • public art; and
  • landscaping and revegetation including mangrove relocation and management.