Saturday 23rd Oct, 2021

Safety boost for Pilbara ore trains

Image: Georgiou Group

An $18.66 million bridge will provide traffic with free movement over a major iron ore rail line, removing the potential for rail-road accidents at an intersection on Western Australia’s Great Northern Highway.

With 13 ore trains travelling on the rail line towards Port Hedland every day day, each taking on average 3.5 minutes to pass through the crossing, the 95-metre bridge aims to significantly improve traffic flow for the region.

Funded by Roy Hill, constructed by Georgiou Group and overseen by Main Roads WA, the project also included the realignment of a section of the Great Northern Highway to incorporate an acceleration lane.

A concrete box-culvert was constructed as part of the bridge to reduce the risk of road closures due to seasonal flooding and to improve the area’s drainage.

More than 11 per cent of the workforce on the project were local Aboriginal people, with the construction of the bridge generating 65 jobs.

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Construction of the bridge commenced in August 2018.

WA Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Stephen Dawson said Pilbara residents and drivers that frequently cross this stretch of the Great Northern Highway will be excited to learn construction is complete.

“This much awaited upgrade will improve this major transport route and, more importantly, improve road safety by removing the risk of road-to-rail conflicts,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic outcome to see this project has achieved high levels of Aboriginal employment throughout construction.”

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the infrastructure project would deliver immediate benefits to road users from today.

“By upskilling Aboriginal people on Main Roads’ managed projects, the State Government is ensuring they now have the experience to secure jobs on other projects within the region,” she said.

Roy Hill CEO Barry Fitzgerald said the bridge was completed on budget and ahead of its March 2019 schedule.

“This bridge is another example of Roy Hill’s commitment to extend its safety focus beyond our immediate workplace, positively contributing to the local communities in which we operate.”