April 22, 2022
The 1,035 km long Tanami Road links Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to Halls Creek in Western Australia. Both the Commonwealth and State Government made announcements in May 2022 regarding financial commitments to the sealing of this road that will facilitate major improvements to freight networks, as well as improved access for community residents, tourists and resource companies.
The 313 km long section of Tanami Road in Western Australia is unsealed and experiences closures in wet weather, cutting off the communities and services. Main Roads is developing plans to upgrade and seal the road up to the Northern Territory border, and it is anticipated that works to the first 20 km section south of Great Northern Highway near Halls Creek will commence in mid-2022, subject to heritage and environmental approvals, with completion expected by mid-2024.
The major benefits of the project will include improving the transport network across Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It will also increase regional connectivity, reduce travel times, and improve access to health and social services.
Activities completed to date include:
- Ground surveys for first 114 km
- Preliminary road design for first 60 km
- Investigation of proposed material areas and water bores sites for first 60 km
- Environmental Surveys for the first 60 km
- Heritage Protection Agreements signed with Koongie-Elvire and Jaru Traditional Owners
Activities now in progress or planned to commence soon include:
- Detailed road design for first 60 km
- Preliminary road design for next 54 km
- Ground surveys for the rest of the road to the Northern Territory border
- Environmental impact assessments
- Aboriginal Heritage surveys
- Finalise environmental and Heritage approvals
- Preconstruction activities, including installing new water bores, investigating material sources and stockpiling materials.
Main Roads has commenced consultation with key stakeholders to seek input into this project. A community information session was held in 2021 in Halls Creek, and sessions are planned for Billiluna, Balgo and Mulan in 2022.
A Project Community and Stakeholder Reference Group will be formed, and a Delivery Strategy workshop is planned with the reference group to determine the final project scope, objectives and delivery program. Aboriginal Participation targets will also be set for this project in line with other projects being delivered in the Kimberley region.