​Marble Bar Road - Coongan Gorge Realignment

Jointly funded by the Australian and State Governments, the realignment of Marble Bar Road through Coongan Gorge will improve safety and efficiency for all road users travelling to the central Pilbara Region. Marble Bar Road provides access to a number of mining operations and local communities between Newman, Nullagine, Marble Bar and several aboriginal communities including Jigalong and Punmu. The four kilometre section of road through Coongan Gorge is currently a narrow winding section of road with steep descents, tight curves and restrictive sight distances.

As part of the WA Regional Freight Transport Network Plan this upgrade will significantly improve road safety and reduce transport vehicle operating costs and travel times. The contract to undertake these works was awarded to MACA Civil Pty Ltd and will also include the upgrade of the Marble Bar Road and Limestone-Marble Bar Road intersection.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Image: Construction area

Latest news

Construction has been underway since July, with a Welcome to Country held in early October involving Njamal traditional owners. Read more in the Project Update.

Blasting activities

Intermittent blasting is required to take place between 12pm and 5pm (maximum of three blasts a day) until early 2019. Traffic will be temporarily stopped for a maximum of 15 minutes during blasting activities. Traffic management will be in place. Please follow the reduced speed signs if travelling through the work area.

Upcoming blasting activities:

  • Friday 11 January – 1.30pm
  • Monday 14 January - 1.30pm
  • Thursday 17 Janaury - 1.30pm

These dates and times are only tentative and subject to change.

Changes to traffic conditions at Limestone-Marble Bar Road

To facilitate the works, road users are being detoured on to side tracks at Limestone-Marble Bar Road and reduced to a speed of 40 km/h in certain locations. The temporary arrangement will be in place on intermittent days in December 2018.

Marble Bar Road side tracks 

Side tracks on Marble Bar Road have been completed to maintain the flow of traffic through the works area. These are now open for road users.

Traffic impacts:

  • Two-way traffic in place on the side tracks with a speed limit of 60 km/h.
  • Roadworks from 6am to 5.30pm.
  • Vehicle width restrictions in place. See our Roadworks Update for more information.

Environment

Managing and minimising environmental impacts of these works is a priority for the project team.

For example, clearing of the site was completed by 1 August 2018 to avoid impacting the breeding season of the Northern Quoll.

Other initiatives include the construction of fauna underpasses, to enable native fauna to safely travel through the new road alignment. The underpasses will be monitored with cameras in place to record fauna movements.

Information about water sourcing for the project can be found in our Project Fact Sheet.

Scope of works

Coongan Gorge Realignment

  • Realignment and upgrade of the four kilometre section of Marble Bar Road that passes through Coongan Gorge
  • Construction of culverts and off-road drainage
  • Installation of safety barriers, signs and pavement markings, guide posts and road reserve boundary fencing

Marble Bar Road and Limestone-Marble Bar Road Intersection

  • Right turn pocket on Limestone-Marble Bar Road eastbound carriageway
  • Acceleration lane on Marble Bar Road eastbound
  • Left turn pocket on Marble Bar Road westbound
  • Left turn pocket on Marble Bar Road northbound

 

 

 

 

​Benefits

  • Remove steep descents, tight curves and restrictive sight distances
  • Allow for a speed limit of 110 km/h, compared to the current 40 km/h in some sections
  • An acceleration lane eastbound at Marble Bar Road-Limestone Road will create safe turning options and less disruption to through traffic
  • Improve road safety, reduce travel times and improve reliability
  • Reduce transport vehicle operating costs and travel times

 

​Key dates

Mid 2018: Construction start 

Mid 2019: Construction completion

Last Updated: 18 January 2019