The state government will invest $12.2 million in road upgrades to improve safety, access and efficiency at Southern Ports’ Port of Esperance.
Stages 2 and 3 of the Port Roads Improvement Program, a three-year staged program of works to renew essential road infrastructure, will be delivered by this investment.
Construction has already begun for Stage 1, which comprises of a $7.4 million upgrade to the sole heavy vehicle access road into the Port of Esperance — Hughes road.
WA Ports Minister David Michael said: “Almost all of the Port of Esperance’s non-iron ore trade is transported by road, so as the port continues to diversify beyond its traditional iron ore base, the delivery of quality road infrastructure is essential.”
“This investment prioritises the safety of our road users and port workers, while also positioning the Port of Esperance to accommodate trade growth,” said Michael.
Future works will now include the reconstruction of degraded areas of road pavement on existing heavy vehicles roads within the port, as well as changes to the existing port access intersection layout to accommodate the significant growth in B-triple road trains accessing it.
When complete, heavy vehicles will have easier port access and a more streamlined route that avoids unsafe interactions and challenging turning circles.
The Port of Esperance had a trade throughput of 13.6 million tonnes in 2022-23 with almost half (44 per cent) of that trade transported by road.
More than 300,000 truck movements are recorded at the port each year, the majority carrying non-iron ore trade including grain, spodumene, nickel, fertiliser and sulphur.
The Port of Esperance is the only deepwater port in the southern region and one of only two container crane ports in the state.
As the third largest spodumene (lithium) port in the world and the region’s second largest employer, it is a key contributor to Western Australia’s economic prosperity.
WA Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne said: “This program of essential infrastructure upgrades will help foster economic growth, ensure safe port operations, and enhance future trade pathways.”