Tourism in the Exmouth region received a major boost today with the official opening of Burkett Road by Transport Minister Eric Charlton.
The new sealed road provides a shorter, safer and more attractive access to world-class coastal destinations in the area, cutting travelling distance from the North by about 160km.
"It has been estimated that up to 30 per cent of northsouth traffic deliberately bypassed Exmouth because of the former poor condition of the road," Mr Charlton said.
"Burkett Road remedies that situation and opens up the North West Cape's natural attractions which rival those of the Great Barrier reef.
"The Gascoyne's Ningaloo Reef which is just 100m off the shore at its closest point is a major tourism drawcard made more accessible by this sealed road. This attraction is complemented by the magnificent landscape offered by the adjacent Cape Range National Park."
Burkett Road linked in with the recently opened Karijini Road to provide a direct high-quality sealed road link between Karijini National Park and Ningaloo, two of the greatest tourism attractions in the Pilbara.
Burkett Road links North West Coastal Highway and the Minilyaxmouth Road and passes through Bullara and Giralia Pastoral Stations, a distance of 78.5kms. It will also provide alternative access to Exmouth when Exmouth Highway becomes impassable due to flooding at the Lyndon River Crossing.
The road is named after local identity, the late Bob Burkett, who, before his death in February 1992, worked tirelessly developing the area's tourism potential. His 25-year contribution was recognised by the State Tourism Commission which awarded him the Pioneer Australia Regional Tourism Award in 1991.
Mr Charlton first announced plans for upgrading Burkett Road in December 1993 with works starting in March 1994, with a $1.4 million loan from the Exmouth Development Trust Fund.
The final cost of the road was $23.6 million, with construction carried out by Main Roads Western Australia, Highway Construction and the Exmouth Shire Council.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333.