Carpentaria Highway major upgrade

The Northern Territory (NT) Government will deliver a major upgrade of sections of the Carpentaria Highway.

It is a key access road to the Beetaloo Sub-Basin, Borroloola and an important service route for the pastoral, tourism, agricultural and mining sectors.

The road is also a key route for supplies and transport for Glencore’s McArthur River mine.

This is a $155 million project, jointly funded over four years ($120 million from the Australian Government, $30 million from the NT Government and an additional joint commitment of $5 million under the Road Safety Stimulus Package).


The upgrades to the Carpentaria Highway will complement multiple strategic projects currently underway that aim to bring the Territory’s vision to become a world-class gas production, manufacturing and services hub to reality.


The project will involve:

  • reconstructing
  • widening
  • lifting
  • other flood immunity improvements
  • sealing.

Sealing of the road will be undertaken to a dual-lane standard, meaning one sealed lane in each direction, offering substantial safety benefits for all road users.


The project is expected to result in the following benefits:

  • improved efficiency and network reliability
  • improved freight productivity and access to freight gateways
  • improved road safety for all road users, in line with Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan
  • improved connectivity between people with jobs and services, and goods with markets
  • improved flood immunity, thereby reducing annual road closures
  • improved access to health and social services for remote and Indigenous communities
  • increase Aboriginal employment and business supplier use.


Planning works are underway with the following investigations to commence in coming weeks:

  • engineering survey
  • geotechnical pavement investigation
  • gravel and construction material investigations
  • water bores and associated works
  • concept design preliminary assessment.

Project stages

Delivery is likely to be broken up into three packages that will involve both design and construction.

The first of these is to be advertised mid-2021 on Tenders Online, enabling detailed design to commence before 2021 wet season.

The project will contribute to the delivery of Infrastructure Australia’s 2021 high priority initiative: Enabling-infrastructure for developing the Beetaloo Sub-Basin.


For further information, email or phone 8924 7118.

Last updated: 01 June 2021

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