Nov 3, 2009

Stage One of Great Northern Highway Upgrade now complete

Stage One of Great Northern Highway Upgrade now complete

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 3 2009

The first stage of the Great Northern Highway Upgrade at Port Hedland has been completed two months ahead of schedule.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Western Australian Transport Minister Simon O’Brien have confirmed the upgrades of the Pinga Street and Wallwork Road intersections on the Great Northern Highway, as well as construction of a fourth lane on the Highway from Wallwork Road to the Port Hedland Road intersection, have been completed.

"In partnership with the WA Government, we are putting people to work building and upgrading the road infrastructure vital to our nation’s long term economic prosperity," said Mr Albanese.

"The recently completed projects are the first stage of a $200 million investment in the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland, to which the Federal Government has committed $160 million and the Western Australian Government $40 million.

"We are making this investment in the region’s infrastructure because its continuing economic development will be of great importance to the future health of the national economy."

Mr O’Brien said the Great Northern Highway at Port Hedland is a vital link for expanding mining operations in the Pilbara region, carrying more than 12,000 vehicles a day.

"Heavy vehicles make up around 12 per cent of the traffic, which includes more than 300 road trains a day," said Mr O’Brien.

"The completed first stage allows for safer overtaking and creates a smoother flow of traffic through the upgraded intersections, reducing conflict between heavy vehicles and commuter traffic and helping to alleviate concerns of the Port Hedland community about the safety of the road.

"The work also provides the additional capacity needed to enable the highway to meet growing traffic demands until the next stage of the project is constructed."

The next stage of the project will involve realigning the Great Northern Highway around the northwest side of Wedgefield, with the necessary planning already underway.