Construction work for the final 12km of the Litchfield Park Road and the bridge over the Lower Finniss River in the Northern Territory, have now commenced.
Litchfield Park is one of the most loved destinations in the Territory with about 340,000 visitors per year and a projected annual economic benefit of $14 million to the Territory once construction is complete.
Local company Ostojic Group was awarded the $26 million contract in late May 2019 to construct a new bridge over the Lower Finniss River and complete the upgrade and sealing of the last 12km of Litchfield Park Road, completing the loop road.
The upgrades are essential in order to ensure the road is kept open during the wet season where it would normally be closed for long periods.
It is anticipated that the road will effectively become a scenic tourist loop through the National Park, expanding visitor experience, attracting more visitors, tourist and locals alike throughout the year, rather than being limited to the dry season.
Jobs are being provided to Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal people who have strong connections to the area, and the Northern Territory Government will continue to work with Traditional Owners to ensure their involvement in the project.
In order to improve the flood immunity of the road, road safety and improved access for remote communities, towns in Litchfield Park and surrounds, progressive upgrades and sealing have occurred on Litchfield Park Road over a number of years.
Works are expected to be completed by late 2020.
The Northern Territory Government has contributed $39 million to the entire project, and the Australian Government has made available $5.7 million as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative.
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler, said, “Our government’s top priority is local jobs, and Litchfield Park Road is supporting 80 jobs in construction and once completed, will create more opportunities in the Top End and the Batchelor region.
‘We are making it easier and safer to travel on our roads while also providing more opportunities for communities, tourism, pastoral and agriculture industries to grow and support more local jobs.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said, “Through the ARI, the Australian Government has made ARI payments of more than $2 billion to be invested into new infrastructure.
“These upgrades are essential to ensure access to the road during the wet season, where normally it may be closed for long periods of time.”
Northern Territory Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss, said, “Litchfield is a key driver of tourism and local jobs in the Batchelor Region and across the Top End, and these upgrades will open up more opportunities for visitors and locals to explore this spectacular part of the Territory during the wet season.
“They complement our $17.5 million Turbocharging Tourism investment in the park which will open up new visitor offerings like stunning new swimming spots, 4WD tracks, new campgrounds and more picnic areas for all to enjoy.”
Senator from the Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, said, “Litchfield Park Road has been progressively upgraded and sealed over a number of years to improve flood resilience, road safety and increase access for remote communities and towns in Litchfield Park and surrounds.
“This is part of the Australian Government’s $28.4 million in ARI incentive payments in the Northern Territory to unlock spending on a number of important infrastructure projects.”