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 $150 million project, jointly funded over four years ($120 million from the Australian Government, $30 million from the NT Government).


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

The project is also expected to provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and business suppliers.


Planning works are underway with the following investigations:

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

Project stages

The overall project will be delivered as a single design and construct lump sum contract, in 2 stages.

Stage 1

Works includes the design, documentation and upgrade from chainage 2km to chainage 50km, with works anticipated to be completed by April 2023.

Stage 1 works will also include the design and documentation for the next 90km, from chainage 50km to chainage 140km.

Stage 2

Stage 2 will involve the construction of 90km, from chainage 50km to chainage 140km. The contract for stage 2 is expected to be negotiated around May 2023, during the delivery of stage 1 works

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

Contract awarded

A design and construct tender for stage 1 has been awarded to Exact Contracting Pty Ltd for $67 million to upgrade the first section of the highway. The overall project will be delivered in 2 separate stages over 2 years.

Stage 1 will include upgrade of the first 48km of the Carpentaria Highway, which is expected to be completed by August 2023. Stage 2 will involve upgrading the next 90km, from chainage 50km to chainage 140km, which once awarded, is expected to be completed by mid-2024.


For more information, email or phone 08 8924 7105.

Last updated: 20 July 2022

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