CLIENT: Main Roads WA
TIMEFRAME: January 2003 – December 2003
VALUE: AUD$21.6 million

Highway Construction was responsible for delivering the first section of the new connecting road between Karratha and Tom Price, and a single span bridge over a live Rio Tinto rail line in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Project Images

Karratha is a City close to the port of Dampier in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Originally developed in the 1960s it has undergone unprecedented growth due to the resources boom, fuelled by the iron ore and natural gas industries.

Located some 100 km from Karratha (as the crow flies) is the mining town of Tom Price, home to Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) workers and locals working predominantly at the Hamersley Iron Mine owned by Rio Tinto. Prior to this project’s completion, the only sealed road between the two locations incorporated a long detour via the coastal highway, with average journey times of between four and five hours door-to-door. The more direct route was a rough unsealed road called Mine Road, owned by Rio Tinto, and accessible only by permit to sturdy four-wheel drive vehicles.

This project represented the first of a number of stages of work to build a more direct sealed route for use by the general public and heavy haulage industries.

It included earthworks, road construction for a 25km section of road from Tom Price townsite to Nanutarra – Munjina Road and a new dual land bridge over Hamersley Iron’s Railway.

Other project elements included:

  • a reinforced earth substructure for a new $2.4million single span composite steel beam bridge;
  • side roads and connections to existing roads, a concrete floodway, stopping bays, rest areas, guard rails and fencing; and
  • over 850,000m3 o earthworks including 250,000m3 of rock through rugged terrain requiring an extensive drill and blast program.

Rail safety was also another successfully managed feature of the project with bridge erection and blasting activities being adjacent to the live Pilbara Rail.