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$14 million upgrade to Great Northern Highway



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PRIME MINISTER

MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT

$14 million upgrade to Great Northern Highway

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced the Federal Government would provide $14 million for the $25 million replacement of Big McPhee Bridge on the Great Northern Highway in partnership with the Western Australian Government.

Speaking to the Kununurra Chamber of Commerce and Industry today, the Prime Minister said the new bridge would make road freight transport more reliable for local mining and agricultural industries.

Big McPhee Bridge is located on the only sealed road between Kununurra and Broome, making it a critical and economically significant piece of infrastructure.

When it was forced to close in March 2011 after sustaining significant structural damage during the Kimberley floods, it caused major disruptions to local mining and agricultural operations.

The new bridge will replace the existing 55 metre long single lane-bridge with a new 108 metre long dual-lane bridge that is 2.5 metres higher, reducing the need for it to close during the flood season.

In the past, the bridge has had to close for an average three days every two years, with the longest recorded closure being 21 days—a real blowout for reliable freight transport.

Construction of the Big McPhee Bridge will be completed in the current dry season.

As part of the Government’s Nation Building Program, $3.7 billion has been provided to upgrade and modernise Western Australia’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure.

This financial year alone we’re providing $1 billion.

Today’s announcement takes the Government’s total investment in upgrading and maintaining the Great Northern Highway to $239 million.

KUNUNURRA 17 JULY 2012

PRESS OFFICE: (02) 6277 7744 MINISTER ALBANESE’S OFFICE: 0410 476 890