The Federal and State Governments have jointly funded a $51 million upgrade of Gordon Downs Road in Halls Creek. Main Roads and the Shire of Halls Creek are in partnership to deliver this project which commenced in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2022. The road will provide improved, safer linkages to local communities, and the Northern Minerals Ltd Browns Range heavy rare earth minerals (dysprosium) deposit.
Located near the Western Australia/Northern Territory border, approximately 160 kilometres south-east of Halls Creek, the current access road is lightly formed and gravel sheeted in places. The road is known to become corrugated and difficult to travel on at various times of the year, and due to flood damage during the wet season it has required extensive repairs in most years.
The upgrade of the Gordon Downs road will provide better and safer access to local Aboriginal communities, tourism, pastoral and mining industries in the region, as well as better access to the mine site from Duncan Road and Gordon Downs Road. The upgraded road will provide a more robust and serviceable accessway whilst significantly reducing road closures.
Main Roads is directly managing the Duncan Road and Gordon Downs Road project on behalf of the Shire of Halls Creek. Works include improvements to drainage, as well as pavement construction and sealing. Around 110km of Duncan Road (from Great Northern Highway) and 52km of Gordon Downs Road will be upgraded to connect to the Browns Range Mine Access Road.
The Shire is working closely with the local community and traditional owners, the Jaru people and Yaruman (Ringer Soak) community.
Works completed to date include:
Since the start of the project in 2019, 36% of hours worked on the project have been by Aboriginal people, of which 95% are locals, and 12% of contracted works went to local Aboriginal businesses, which is above the target of 10%.