Works on shifting the Great Northern Highway to the north of its existing alignment have begun, marking the beginning of stage two of the  $274.5 million Port Hedland Improvement Program.


Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said this major investment by the federal and State governments in Port Hedland is recognition of the Pilbara region's importance to Australia's present and future prosperity.


The works will see a new eight kilometer section of highway constructed around the Wedgefield industrial precinct and a new interchange built between the Great Northern Highway and Port Hedland Road.


“This upgrade can't come soon enough. Already 15,000 cars, trucks and road trains use the existing stretch of highway through the town each day, a figure that's up 25 per cent in just the last three years,” WA Senator Glenn Sterle said.



“Shifting the Highway will ease congestion, improve safety and make sure the local road network can cope with future growth, particularly the almost 400 additional road trains associated with the Utah Point Berth development and new mines at Abydos, Mt Dove and Phil's Creek.


“This project is another great example of Federal Labor reinvesting a major proportion of the wealth created by our natural resources back into building the infrastructure which will support the industry's continued growth as well as the local communities that work for it.”


The Port Hedland Improvement Program is being funded by both the Federal ($197.2 million) and Western Australian ($77.2 million) governments.