- Great Northern Highway to reopen between Broome and Derby this week
- Work crews will soon finish construction of a temporary single lane gravel track
- Staged opening for all vehicles to begin from Thursday 9 February
- 10 kilometres of highway through Willare badly damaged in the recent floods
A 40-person strong road construction crew will finish critical temporary repair works on a badly damaged section of Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby this week.
The repair works include the construction of a temporary single-lane gravel track, which will allow for a staged re-opening to occur this week, reconnecting Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing by road for the first time since the floods.
As part of the staged reopening, vehicles will be escorted in alternating east and west convoys, using the single lane gravel track under speed restrictions.
The reopening will occur in the following stages:
- Stage 1 – access to all vehicles from Thursday 9 February through to Sunday 12 February between the hours of 8am and 4pm only
- Stage 2 – escorted access to all vehicles from Monday 13 February one-way, twice daily:
- Derby side (east) convoys leaving at 7.30am and 4.30pm
- Broome side (west) convoys leaving at 8am and 5pm
It is anticipated that the second stage of the reopening will be in place for up to two weeks or until crews can get the road widened to be able to operate safely under two-lane traffic flows. Limiting access during the second stage is required to allow road crews to add a second lane to the temporary gravel track.
Permanent repair works will be undertaken in the dry season.
Travel times across the 10-kilometre section are likely to average between 15 – 20 minutes per convoy. Wait times at the controlled access points either side of the temporary track at the Willare Roadhouse and the Cockatoo Creek Bridge are likely to average 30 minutes.
All vehicles will need to follow the direction of traffic controllers and drive to the reduced speed limit.
Crews will be monitoring the weather and road conditions and if necessary short-term closures may be implemented if the unsealed conditions deteriorate due to further significant rainfall.
Works continue in Fitzroy Crossing to implement a temporary barge system. Recent rainfall and rising river levels have hampered construction of the barge, however works have started on new landing foundations on the eastern side of the river in preparation for an initial punt service commencing once river heights reduce to a safe level.
Planning continues for the temporary low-level crossing which will provide a more permanent option while the new Fitzroy Crossing Bridge is constructed.
Procurement for the full replacement of the Fitzroy Crossing Bridge is being fast-tracked, and the Government plans to award a contract in the coming weeks.
You can stay up to date with the latest news on the road recovery effort by visiting Kimberley Flood Response | Main Roads Western Australia.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The floods have had a devastating impact and restricted connectivity in the Kimberley region.
“I want to thank Main Roads and the hard-working road construction teams who have been out there working most days in some really challenging wet season conditions to get this temporary track completed in less than four weeks.
“Seeing the early vision of the floods and the scale of damage that was sustained to the road infrastructure, it’s an incredible achievement to be able to open up the highway in a limited capacity this quickly.
“I’d also like to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we continue work on restoring road access in the region.
“I encourage all road users to drive to the conditions, follow instructions of the traffic controllers and stay up-to-date with the latest road closure and conditions information with the Main Roads Travel Map.”
As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:
“The road reconstruction crews have done a great job in testing conditions to get the Great Northern Highway reconnected.
“This staged re-opening will allow movement of critical freight and local community members between Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing for the first time since the floods.
“Pending weather conditions, we expect that within the next few weeks the second lane of the temporary gravel track will have finished construction, allowing traffic to move more freely.”