Funding approved for Outback Way upgrades

Road improvements to cut operating costs for freight operators

Funding approved for Outback Way upgrades
Upgrades are expected to be complete by 2021.


The federal government has approved $100 million funding for 13 high priority upgrade projects on the Outback Way.

Over 200 km of Outback Way, a 2,700km route crossing Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, will be upgraded by mid-2021, including 182 kilometres which is currently unsealed as part of the upgrade.

"This is a major investment in a significant project, which will deliver substantial long-term benefits to every community it touches and the national economy," federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester says.

"The works to be undertaken will improve the reliability of the Outback Way, reduce travel times and costs to freight operators and improve access across the region while reducing the risk of accidents.

"These works have been identified following an independent review of the Outback Way to identify high-priority sections requiring upgrades in the short term, with the results of the review used to inform the allocation of the $100 million commitment.

"These upgrades are going to deliver real benefits for the industries and communities which use this key east-west route to access economic opportunities and essential services."

Around 60 km of upgrades will be delivered in NT including:

  • two projects worth $32.2 million to deliver a two-lane seal, drainage improvements and floodway upgrades along 36km of the Plenty Highway
  • one project worth $19.9 million to deliver a two-lane seal along 24 kilometres of Tjukaruru Road.

NT infrastructure, planning and logistics minister Nicole Manison the upgrade works will underpin economic growth for the strategic east-west link for years to come.

Country Liberals senator for NT Nigel Scullion says the upgrades will improve road reliability, reduce travel times, cut costs for freight operators and enhance economic opportunities throughout the Northern Territory.

"Sealing these sections of road and upgrading floodways will make a huge difference to people travelling the Outback Way," Scullion says.

"Providing a two-lane seal makes the highway safer for all vehicles, giving drivers more room on the road, and building better floodways and carrying out drainage improvements will make the road far more reliable throughout the year."

The federal government will contribute up to 80 per cent of costs for each project, with state and local governments to contribute the remaining 20 per cent.

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