THE Australian and Western Australian governments last week announced that construction on the $218 million North West Coastal Highway upgrade will begin this month, following the awarding of a contract for stage one works.
The $25.3 million contract for major construction works for the first stage of the project between Minilya and Mia Mia in Western Australia's Pilbara region has been awarded to road builder Maca Civil Pty Ltd.
Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said 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.
"This section of highway carries 500 vehicles every day with more than 37 per cent being heavy vehicles, and this number is expected to grow in the years ahead," he said.
"Upgrading this major freight route to a world class standard is essential to supporting economic growth and driving further investment in the Western Australian mining, oil and gas industry."
Western Australian Transport Minister Dean Nalder said stage one 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 9 metres, including a 1 metre wide sealed shoulder," Mr Nalder said.
"Works on Stage 1 of the North West Coastal Highway upgrade are scheduled for completion prior to October 2015, conditions permitting."
The Australian Government has committed up to $174 million to the project with the Western Australian Government funding the remaining $44 million.