Road safety and regional jobs in south-central Western Australia will get a boost, with Highway Construction named as the preferred proponent to upgrade the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway.
Upgrades will be delivered on the 25-kilometre section between the Goldfields Highway intersection and Widgiemooltha, known as Emu Rocks South, supporting approximately 90 jobs.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Australian Government was funding shovel-ready regional projects to get money flowing into jobs and businesses as soon as possible.
"Our focus is on getting people back into work quickly, which is why we have committed $1.5 billion to prioritise shovel-ready projects and targeted road safety works that can boost the economy and support jobs immediately," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"We are investing in our post-pandemic future by delivering lasting infrastructure that will kick-start our economic recovery and benefit Australians for years to come.
"The Australian Government's $110 billion 10-year infrastructure pipeline will support our economy and create jobs, particularly for those in the construction and manufacturing industries."
Western Australian Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said the project formed part of the McGowan Government's $80 million investment to upgrade road infrastructure and support local jobs in the Goldfields-Esperance region.
"Over 290,000 vehicles use this remote stretch of road every year, of which nearly 35 per cent are heavy vehicles," Minister Saffioti said.
"This critical upgrade will significantly improve safety for locals, tourists and freight operators alike.
"The $52 million investment is part of our ongoing commitment to provide safer regional roads across Western Australia."
Federal Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson said works included constructing a northbound and southbound passing lane north of Widgiemooltha, upgrading intersections at Goldfields Highway and Kingswood Street, and widening and sealing road shoulders.
"The Coolgardie-Esperance Highway at Emu Rocks forms part of the Perth-Adelaide route on the National Land Transport Network," Mr Wilson said.
"By investing in this stretch of the highway, we are building a safer road network for the families and communities that live and work here.
"We are also supporting the productivity of regional industries on what is a major freight route through the Goldfields-Esperance region, with around two million tonnes transported each year."
Western Australian Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Kyle McGinn said the works would provide additional employment and training opportunities for the local community.
"Not only will these upgrades improve travel time and safety, but local employment opportunities will be increased," Mr McGinn said.
"This, combined with other job-creating opportunities across the region, highlights the McGowan Government's commitment to delivering for the Goldfields-Esperance region.
"Aside from these fantastic local jobs outcomes, these upgrades will also mean a safer drive to Widgie for their famous burger and a safer trip to Esperance for tourists and travellers."
The project will also include replacement and extension of culverts and installation of signage, line marking and audio tactile edge and centre lines.
Construction is due to start in December 2020 and completion is expected by April 2022.
The $52 million project is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $41.6 million and the Western Australian Government $10.4 million.
Transport and Planning Minister's office - 6552 5500