A contract has been awarded for the $7.88 million Plenty Highway upgrade in the Harts Range area, about 215km north-east of Alice Springs.

The Ostojic Group have been awarded the contract to upgrade a 5.5km section of the highway.

The project  is being jointly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, with each providing $3.94 million as part of the $40 million Australian and Northern Territory governments’ 2013 commitment to upgrade the Outback Way.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said, “This is a key route on our regional road network for the cattle industry, local communities and tourists visiting the lower Barkly region, and these works are part of a staged upgrade of the Outback Way on the Plenty Highway between the Stuart Highway and Harts Range.

“I expect the work to start very soon now that the contract has been awarded to the Ostojic Group.”

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Nicole Manison, said, when completed, the project would improve the highway’s safety and reliability, particularly during and following heavy rains.

“In addition to the efficiency gains for regional businesses, a better road means improved access for isolated communities such as Atitjere (Harts Range), which stand to benefit from the resulting delivery of services and employment opportunities,” Ms Manison said.

Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said the upgrade would be a boost for Territory jobs, industry and communities.

“The upgrade is going to help improve productivity for a variety of industries, including the mining and freight transport sectors, regional tourism, and the cattle industry which will have better market access,” Senator Scullion said.

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