NT freight growth prompts work on alternative truck route

Consultancy firm asked to suggest ways of further diverting trucks away from Northern Territory town.


An expected rise in the Northern Territory road freight task in the coming years has prompted the Federal Government to look at a future alternative freight route around the town of Katherine.

Federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss has tasked consultancy firm Aurecon Australasia with carrying out a planning study, which aims to meet the needs of industry and Katherine residents.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year, at which time the results will be released.

"In years to come, the Northern Territory expects to experience strong growth in mining, agriculture and live cattle exports, with the Stuart Highway forming a key link between these industries and the global market," Truss says.

"This growth will see an increased number of heavy vehicles travelling through the centre of Katherine, affecting local traffic and pedestrians."

Truss says the study will ensure the Stuart Highway continues to service freight operators and regional centres, while also reducing the impact of freight traffic on local residents.

NT deputy chief minister Willem Westra van Holthe says the planning study will bring long-term benefits to Katherine and the Territory.

"With the increased use by heavy vehicles, there will be growing concerns for road safety, in particular the safety of the children, other pedestrians and local traffic," he says.

"The study will also investigate measures to improve transport capacity to meet future growth needs of the town, including a second crossing of the Katherine River."

The study is in addition to the freight bypass of Katherine currently in the first stage of construction.

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