The Federal Government has this week committed $160 million to seal the next stage of the Tanami Road in the Northern Territory. Combined with the Territory Government’s $40 million through a 80:20 partnership agreement, the $200 million investment will fund 150 kilometres of upgrade between chainage 271.81 and 421.00km.
The Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government have now committed $400 million over 10 years on a co-funding basis to upgrade the Tanami Road within the NT under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
The Tanami Road is a 1014-kilometre direct link from Halls Creek in Western Australia, to the Stuart Highway near Alice Springs. Of this distance, 703 kilometres is in the Northern Territory, compromised of 281 kilometres of sealed road, a portion of which is single lane sealed, and 422 kilometres of unsealed road.
The Federal Government has also committed $400 million in the Federal Budget 2022-23 to the Western Australian Government to seal the Tanami from Halls Creek to the Western Australian border. All combined, this funding should see the Tanami Highway fully sealed.
A vital inter-regional link connecting Alice Springs to Western Australia, Tanami Road is a key freight route for the mining and pastoral industries, services a number of Indigenous communities, and is an important access road for tourists.
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler said the upgrades would support regional and local economic development by improving connectivity and increasing safety for industry and communities in the region.
“Connecting the Territory is one way we are letting the rest of Australia and the world know that the NT is open for business and ready to support quality private investment,” she said.
“Sealing our roads and making for easy journeys means reduced freight costs, reliability and makes sure business keeps moving in a safe and productive way.”
In November 2020, an early works package of 11.8 kilometres to complete the sealing to Yuendumu was awarded to local NT company Exact Contracting for $7.14 million. Construction was completed in late 2021.
The current tender comprises two stages, with the first 60-kilometre section anticipated to be underway by mid year 2022.
Earlier this year, the Northern Territory Government’s state body Infrastructure NT released the NT Infrastructure Framework detailing infrastructure priorities for the state. Tanami Road was one of the eight projects mentioned in the framework that are also on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list.