Costly upgrades to the Keep River Road have begun.
Exact Contracting Pty Ltd, which has an office in Alice Springs, was awarded the $58 million contract for both stages in July 2019, which will support more than 150 local jobs.
Works will be delivered in two stages, with Stage 1 including the upgrade of 13.4 kilometres from the Western Australia border to a two-lane standard toward the Legune Station, and a bridge over the Keep River.
This will open up regional and economic opportunities through year-round road access.
Keep River Road is a critical supply chain to a number of proposed private projects such as Project Sea Dragon, a $1.45 billion prawn aquaculture project that has the potential to create around 1500 ongoing local jobs.
The road is located on the NT/WA border, approximately 47 kilometres northeast of Kununurra and 160 kilometres northwest of Timber Creek.
The project is jointly funded by the Federal Government, as part of the Northern Australia Roads Program, in partnership with the Northern Territory Government.
Construction of Stage 1 is expected to be completed in late 2020, weather permitting. Stage 2, which is expected to include a bridge over Sandy Creek, is subject to final funding approval.
There will be minimal impact to road users during construction, as traffic will remain on the existing road alignment, with detours as needed. Motorists are advised to adhere to all traffic management and drive with care.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said: "Infrastructure improvements, such as the Keep River Road upgrade project, help to boost road safety and transport efficiency."
"These upgrades will benefit the economy of the region by strengthening freight capacity and road accessibility."
"Flooding and boggy road conditions will no longer impede road transport, opening up a vital link all year round."
NT Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said: "Construction of this important road will support more than 150 local jobs and provide better access for people living and working in remote communities and stations like Legune Station, Spirit Hills Station, Cannon Hills Station, Kneebone Outstation and Marralum Family Outstation.
"This will strengthen our transport connections for agriculture, resources and pastoral industries, creating opportunities for future investment and more jobs for the region."
Senator Sam McMahon said: "The Keep River Road upgrades will help Territorians and tourists alike to travel safely across the Outback.
"These upgrades are an important investment in the future of the Northern Territory and its people."
"The Australian Government has committed $69,850,000 to the project, with the NT Government committing an additional $17,462,500."
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