WORK has begun on the 107-kilometre upgrade of the North West Coastal Highway between Mia Mia and Barradale, north of Minilya in Western Australia's Gascoyne region, after a $69 million design and construct contract was awarded to Brierty Bocol Joint Venture (BBJV).
The project is the second stage of a $218 million upgrade for North West Coastal Highway, which is being funded by the Australian ($174 million) and Western Australian ($44 million) governments to improve safety and improve freight access to the resource-rich Pilbara and Gascoyne regions.
"The upgrades will boost economic growth and performance in the mining, oil, gas and tourism industries because the highway is the main link between Geraldton, Carnarvon, Karratha, Port Hedland and beyond," Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Jamie Briggs, said in a statement last week.
"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," Mr Briggs said.
"This project will improve the productivity and safety of freight transport in north Western Australia and will deliver better roads for regional communities."
WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said Stage 2 of the North West Coastal Highway upgrade would enhance work already being undertaken south of Mia Mia as part of Stage 1 works announced in November 2014.
"This section of road will be reconstructed, widened and resurfaced between Mia Mia and Barradale, two passing lanes will be built to provide more overtaking opportunities and two all-weather bridge crossings will be constructed at Cave and Goodeman Creeks," Mr Nalder said.
"The upgraded highway, as well as the new bridge crossings located between Barradale and Nanutarra, will improve the reliability and efficiency of freight movements and reduce the freight costs to resource operations and communities throughout the region associated with frequent closures."
Design work for Stage 2 will start immediately and investigation work to verify gravel sources will be undertaken this month. Road construction is expected to start in March 2015 and will take two years to complete.