Land transport access between Karratha and Tom Price - Manuwarra Red Dog Highway

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Land transport access between Karratha and Tom Price - Manuwarra Red Dog Highway

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EARLY STAGE PROPOSAL
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POTENTIAL INVESTMENT OPTIONS
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INVESTMENT READY PROPOSAL
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PROJECT DELIVERY
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POST COMPLETION REVIEW

Land transport access between Karratha and Tom Price - Manuwarra Red Dog Highway

A graphic of the Australian continent with WA state shaded and small dot representing Karratha.
LOCATION
Pilbara, WA
GEOGRAPHY
Developing regions and northern Australia
SECTOR
Transport
OUTCOME CATEGORY
Regional Connectivity
PROPONENT
WA Government
PROBLEM TIMEFRAME
Near term (0-5 years)
DATE ADDED
12 April 2022
Land transport access between Karratha and Tom Price
Problem

The Manuwarra Red Dog Highway links the key activity centres of Karratha and Tom Price and provides access and connectivity to remote communities (including local First Nations communities), tourists, mining operations and businesses in the area. The highway is unsealed for 60% of its 276 km length. The highway has been progressively sealed, with 110km remaining to be sealed. The 2015 Northern Australia Audit identified that the road has one of northern Western Australia’s highest traffic volumes and growth rates.

The unsealed condition of the highway constrains mining, freight and tourism opportunities in the region, as well as contributing to lower equity outcomes for remote communities and a high road crash toll.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit noted that lower levels of infrastructure service in remote areas can reinforce social and economic inequalities.

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit also identified the highway as having double-digit growth rates over the preceding nine years. The scale of the problem could therefore be expected to increase significantly over time.

Potential investment options

The proponent identified and assessed a wide range of options to improve connectivity, safety and flood resilience in the final unsealed section of the Karratha to Tom Price corridor. This involved strategic reviews, multi-criteria analysis, rapid cost-benefit analysis and route alignment studies.

Potential options for addressing the identified problems include constructing a new and more direct sealed route between Tom Price and Millstream or upgrading existing unsealed routes. The proponent should consider including an alternative option in the business case – such as upgrading the existing route or upgrading alternative routes, to ensure justification for the final preferred option is robustly documented. 

The proposal is expected to improve quality-of-life for remote communities that rely on the road for access, improve efficiency and safety for industry and support tourism growth in the region. The proponent should consider quality of life impacts in the business case.

Next steps

Proponent to develop and submit a business case (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).

First added as a Stage One proposal 1/2/2019.

Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.