DETAILED planning is now under way for the $384 million upgrade of the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin, which will include realignment and widening of the highway, upgraded intersections and additional overtaking lanes.
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said the planning review will be conducted over nine months to develop a revised upgrade strategy for the 218 kilometre corridor, with design and construction packages to be awarded and delivered between 2015 and 2019.
"The review will identify priority upgrades to ensure we improve driver safety and the economic performance of the highway so freight can be delivered more quickly and efficiently at less cost to industry," Mr Briggs said.
"The Australian Government has provided $307.8 million towards the review and construction works, with a further $28 million for similar work on the 11km Bindi Bindi curves section."
Federal Member for Pearce Christian Porter said this section of highway is a vital link in the National Land Transport Network for transport of equipment and supplies to the resources industry in the Pilbara and the north.
"As a vital corridor for the State's resources industry, this section of highway between Muchea and Wubin, is notorious as one of our State's most dangerous stretches of roads and is in desperate need of upgrading," Mr Porter said.
WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Western Australian Government has contributed $77 million toward the overall upgrade and $7 million for the Bindi Bindi upgrade, improving conditions on one of the state's most important highways.
"This highway is Australia's longest, providing an important link between our resource-rich regions in the north and our export ports in the south," Mr Nalder said.
"When the full package of works is completed, the highway will be upgraded to a standard that will enable triple length road trains operating north of Wubin to travel 160 kilometres further south.
"Main Roads has already identified an area of high priority, which is the 21km section from Batty Bog Road to Walebing. Construction of this section started in September 2014 and is due for completion by early 2016.
"Engagement with local government and the freight industry has commenced and a series of community meetings to give locals an opportunity to raise any questions about the project will be held in November."