A section of the Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby has re-opened this week, following extensive works to repair damage caused by flooding in Western Australia.
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.
The reopening will occur in two stages. Stage one will see access to all vehicles from Thursday 9 February through to Sunday 12 February between the hours of 8am and 4pm only.
Stage two will provide escorted access to all vehicles from Monday 13 February one-way, twice daily for the Derby side (east) convoys leaving at 7.30am and 4.30pm and the Broome side (west) convoys leaving at 8am and 5pm.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti thanked the crew of 40 as well as the community for their patience during the works.
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“The floods have had a devastating impact and restricted connectivity in the Kimberley region,” Saffioti said.
“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.”
Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna expects construction on the second lane of the temporary gravel track to finish within the next few weeks.
“The road reconstruction crews have done a great job in testing conditions to get the Great Northern Highway reconnected,” D’Anna said.
“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.”
This comes as 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.