Inch by inch, mile by mile, the bitumen is coming!

Published: December 2, 2016
Outback way sign

It’s been the dream of many for a long time and it seems that – little by little – the sealing of Australia’s longest shortcut, the Outback Way, is getting there.

The ABC reports that more than $205 million in State, Territory and Federal Government funding has been is driving the project forward and – despite the challenges that lie ahead – there is belief that the 2,800 kilometre route from Laverton in WA’s northern Goldfields to Winton in Queensland will one day be fully bitumenised.

Of course, there are those track-hardened grey nomads who decry the march of ‘civilisation’ into their beloved bush, but the Outback Highway Development Council has its eyes on a bigger prize.

The ABC reports that the ultimate goal is to open up remote parts of central Australia to industry and tourism, with the Outback Way to link sealed roads stretching 4,615km from Perth, passing Uluru and the inland hub of Alice Springs, before finishing in tropical north Queensland at Cairns.

The committee’s chairman Patrick Hill, who is also the Shire of Laverton’s president, told the ABC about 1,600 kilometres of the Outback Way remained unsealed.

He said the Shire of Laverton planned to seal 50 kilometres in the first half of 2017, working back from the local government boundary with the remote Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, about 420 kilometres north of Laverton.
Road works should begin in late January and bitumen could be completed by June.

“We’re working closely with the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, trying to get more kilometres for the dollars we’re spending out there,” he told the ABC. “We’ve got a further $130 million to spend over the next couple of years to seal further sections and we’re determining the next priority sections … there’s just over $200 million committed to it, and we’ll put a few dents in that.”

Mr Hill also hoped mining companies along the route would be open to supporting the infrastructure build.

* How will this bitumen dream – if realised – change your Big Lap dreams? Comment below.

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Nigel Scott
5 years ago

Cant happen soon enough. Will open up the centre to more tourists and improve the evonomies of the towns enroute from WA to Qld.

5 years ago

Lets hope they have thought of other things like Road Houses, and landing strips for the Flying Doctor,
It will be a challenge to drive this route in the middle of Summer, not for the faint hearted or us for that matter,

Sharon Dutton
5 years ago

When the road gets to Alice Springs, I would like the road to go to Birdsville, Quilpie and on to Roma to Brisbane.

5 years ago

It would be great – if it ever gets completed. My major concern would be that multiple combination semi’s and Juggernaut’s would soon damage the tarmac surface unless there was sufficient road base and concrete under bitumen. Then it would escalate the costs beyond reason.

Michelle Williams
5 years ago

Been travelling this road all year for work purposes. Hardly saw any tourists. I would comment that tourists need to STOP leaving rubbish everywhere or the local Indigenous communities will kick everyone out. The free camps around Uluru are disgusting and some popular spots are almost unusable without draggnig out much rubbish on set up. Respect of the alcohol restrictions is important too. Tourists do ignore it. On the otrher hand the local art centres and groups welcome the opportunities tourism will bring. People who understand are welcome, those who abuse the opportunity will spoil it for everyone.


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