THE Australian and West Australian governments last week announced that the first stage of the North West Coastal Highway upgrade is now open to traffic, improving safety for all vehicles travelling between the Minilya Roadhouse and Lyndon River.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the overall project will ultimately widen the North West Coastal Highway between Minilya and Barradale and provide two new bridges over low-level floodway crossings.
"The Australian Government recognises the importance of the North West Coastal Highway to Australia's economic growth and has committed $173 million to the $217 million overall project," Mr Truss said.
"It is an integral transport link for industry, tourists and coastal communities in Western Australia's north-west, and will support increased freight movements from the growing Northern Gascoyne and Western Pilbara regions."
WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said Stage 1 of the project had involved widening and strengthening this section of the highway, improving safety and decreasing travel times for all users.
"Stage two works will include widening and reconstructing the highway north of Lyndon River, as well as building two overtaking lanes and two bridge crossings at Goodeman Creek and Cave Creek. This upgrade will ensure motorists don't need to perform dangerous manoeuvres to overtake heavy vehicles, while also improving travel times for locals," Mr Nalder said.
The overall North West Coastal Highway project is being jointly funded, with the Australian Government contributing $173 million and the Western Australian Government $44 million. The second stage of the project is due to be completed in 2017.