THE FEDERAL Government plans to slash annual highway closures due to flooding with a $35.5 million bridge on the Victorian Highway to tun over Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks.
The works to strengthen the Victoria Highway between Western Australian and the Northern Territory will soon be underway, with the contract to deliver the $35.5 million project awarded to Northern Territory business Allan King & Sons Construction Pty Ltd.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the works would take place about 300 kilometres west of Katherine, improving links between Perth and Darwin.
"The Victoria Highway is the only sealed link between the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which means this upgrade project is critical to the keeping the Perth to Darwin freight corridor open for business," Mr Chester said.
"This project will replace the existing bridges of Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks to 1-in-20-year flood immunity standards, consistent with other crossings along the Victoria Highway. It will create approximately 60 jobs, 10 of which will be allocated as Indigenous positions."
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Nicole Manison said the new bridges would replace the existing crossings with higher structures, along with raised road approaches and culverts at low points to minimise the impact of flooding.
"The project design will also improve safety and connectivity around the new bridges by upgrading the intersections linking access roads to the Big Horse Creek boat ramp and the Bradshaw Field Training Area," Ms Manison said.
"This tender award is a major step forward for the project, which has an expected completion due in late 2018."
The Australian Government has committed $20.01 million to the project under the National Highway Upgrade Programme in partnership with the Northern Territory Government, which is contributing $15.49 million.