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Great Northern Highway Kimberley Project. Kimberley Region. Australia

Client
Western Australian Government
Sector
Transport
Services
Infrastructure Construction
Duration
Completed in 2010
Project partners
BGC Contracting and Maunsell Aecom

Great Northern Highway Kimberley Project. Kimberley Region. Australia

Full project details

Team Savannah, a joint venture between Laing O'Rourke, BGC Contracting and Maunsell Aecom, delivered a two-stage upgrade to the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia’s remote Kimberley region. It was the first contract of its kind entered into by the Western Australian Government, and resulted in $6 million of realised savings. 

Part of the Auslink National Road Network, the highway is the main land transport route between Perth and the Kimberley, and the only sealed road connecting Western Australia with the Northern Territory. It is a vital corridor for freight transport, pastoralists, tourism and defence.

Team Savannah collaborated with Main Roads Western Australia during the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) phase on pricing, planning and approvals, as well as negotiating risks, design concepts, productivity milestones and the final cost.

Through its early involvement in the project, the integrated, multidisciplinary team was able to reduce tender costs, resource duplication and pre-construction time. Strong relationships between key resources also enabled a smooth, timely and cost-effective transition between the development, design and construction phases.

Construction was carried out at five discrete sites over a 200 km section of road stretching between Kununurra and Halls Creek. The works included two new bridges, one replacement bridge, 20 km of new road and 20 km of road upgrading and widening.

The Phase 1 development works are completed in April 2008 and the Phase 2 construction works were finished in late 2009, with the highway officially opened that December. The ceremony was followed by a ribbon cutting at the Telegraph Creek Bridge site, where a 750-year-old boab tree was removed and transferred to Perth to make way for bridge construction.

The works have improved road safety and accessibility for the 400 vehicles that use this highway every day. The project has also reduced freight and road user costs by minimising road closures during the wet season, which previously prevented access to remote Indigenous communities and disrupted the flow of traffic on the freight corridor.

During its peak, the Team Savannah project employed around 100 people. Around 15 percent of the workforce were Indigenous, including trainees, direct employees and contractors. The trainees were supported by local and on-site mentors who visited the worksite and provided support and encouragement. Other training and development initiatives conducted throughout the project included assistance obtaining blue cards and driver’s licences, training for Laing O’Rourke supervisors on conflict resolution and working with young people, and cultural awareness training for the entire site team.

Laing O’Rourke’s work with Indigenous people was formally recognised at the East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards in 2009 when the company was presented with an Outstanding Contribution to the Employment and Training of Aboriginal People Award.

Project facts

A vital upgrade to the only sealed road connecting Western Australia with the Northern Territory

The first contract of its kind entered into by the Western Australian Government

Improved road safety and accessibility for the 400 vehicles that use the highway daily

Around 15 percent of the project workforce were Indigenous

The role of Team Savannah has been integral in the completion of this project. I congratulate you on a job well done.

Gary GrayParliamentary Secretary for Western and Northern Australia

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