Upgrade Tanami Road

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Constrained access to the Tanami region
Priority Initiative
Infrastructure Category
Proposed By
NT Government
Near term (0-5 years)
Tanami Road links the Stuart Highway in the NT to the Great Northern Highway in WA
Upgrade Tanami Road


The key problems identified in the region include:

  • limited economic opportunities for communities in the region, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • reduced opportunities for employment in remote areas
  • reduced access to essential services for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • limitations to development in mining, tourism and pastoral operations
  • high vehicle operating costs
  • poor flood immunity resulting in lengthy road closures
  • broader risks to health and safety for road users arising from poor road alignments, excessive corrugations and poor visibility. 

 A key cause of these problems is the poor quality of the road. Over two-thirds of Tanami Road is unsealed with substantial sections being unformed. This surface has led to the development of significant ruts and corrugations from heavy vehicles.

This initiative aligns with the findings from the 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit, as well as with other government priorities, such as Closing the Gap policies. Further, the initiative was identified as an infrastructure gap in the 2015 Northern Australia Audit.

Proposed initiative

Upgrade and improve flood immunity and resilience for the Tanami Road between the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs, and the Great Northern Highway at Halls Creek.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).