Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti were on hand to turn the sod to mark the start of construction on Stage 3 of the Karratha-Tom Price Road.
The $81.5 million project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments, and is expected to create more than 100 local jobs during construction.
Work will be undertaken by MACA Civil Pty Ltd and will include sealing 48 kilometres of road, constructing new pavement and drainage structures.
When complete the upgrades will reduce travel times, improve safety and reduce road closures, particularly during the wet season.
When fully complete the new road will improve access to the popular Millstream Chichester National Park and Karijini National Park, helping boost tourist traffic in the heart of the Pilbara.
Transport benefits for the mining industry, in terms of productivity will also be realised.
The project has a strong focus on creating regional employment and opportunities for local businesses, including indigenous companies.
With assistance from Rio Tinto, public traffic will be shifted to a parallel detour track during the construction period, saving the project costs considerably.
As stated by Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack:
“The upgrades are along a key freight route that supports the mining industry, and will help facilitate other economic opportunities for the region.
“The project will provide better connections for regional communities, boost road safety and reliability and also improve access for high capacity vehicles.
“Stage 3 is being funded under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative, with an Australian Government contribution of $248 million towards this important corridor.”
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Upgrading the Karratha-Tom Price Road was one of my Government’s key election commitments.
“More than 100 local jobs are expected to be created on Stage 3 alone with construction due to be completed in mid-2020, soon more tourists and locals alike will be able to use this road and see all the Pilbara has to offer firsthand.”
As stated by Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price:
“This project is a fantastic example of a collaborative approach between the Australian and State governments, ensuring a positive outcome for the local region and for Western Australians.
“These vital infrastructure improvements are an investment in rural WA and its communities.”
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The Karratha-Tom Price Road is an important piece of infrastructure in the Pilbara and these upgrades will make it safer and easier for people to travel.
“We committed more than $2 billion in our recent 2019-20 State Budget to upgrade and build regional roads all across the State.
“This will support local communities, and will further develop tourism and industry opportunities into the future.”
As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:
“The sealing of the Karratha-Tom Price Road is a huge local project for local communities across the Pilbara that will cut travel time, increase safety, create tourism and local jobs, improve social connectivity, and open up freight opportunities into the inland Pilbara.
“This is something the Pilbara community called for which the McGowan Government committed to and it’s now being delivered.”