Northam to Pithara Upgrades



In December 2016, the Hon Bill Marmion MLA, Minister for Transport and the Hon Terry Redman MLA, Minister for Regional Development, announced $18.41 million for essential upgrades to Northam-Pithara Road. These funds supplement a $4.05 million allocation that was announced earlier this year under the Commonwealth's Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme.

The project will improve the condition of approximately 25 kilometres sections of the road between the Great Eastern and Great Northern highways.

The investment will provide greater access across the State. The road carries intra-regional traffic including a mix of heavy and passenger vehicles. The upgrades will enable businesses to utilise 36.5 metre road train combinations to transfer freight between the State's north and east without traversing the metropolitan region.

The majority of the road is on the Restricted Access Vehicle 7 network, with the exception of the Ballidu to Pithara section (23 kilometres) at the northern end and the southern section between Southern Brook Road and the Great Eastern Highway (2.34 kilometres).
Currently, vehicles are required to breakdown loads into 27.5 meter combinations at Northam prior to continuing on Great Eastern Highway to Perth before continuing the journey north.

The Northam-Pithara Road is regularly used by freight vehicles, local, regional and tourist traffic traveling between the Wheatbelt and Mid-West regions. These upgrades will provide opportunities for economic development and private investment as a result of shorter and more efficient travel times.

Widening and improving the route section will reduce the number and severity of accidents. Safety improvements include a result of a wider seal, road markings and signage, safer passing opportunities, removing a rail crossing, intersection improvements and reduced travel times, thereby minimising driver frustration and fatigue.


Project update

A 2 kilometre section just prior to the intersection with the Great Northern Highway was widened in 2014/15.

The alignment for both the widening in the north section and realignment in the south section is now finalised.

Construction will be carried out in a staged approach and is due to commence in 2017/18 and be completed in 2018/19.

It is proposed that the existing highway through the southern section will be de-proclaimed as a highway and become a local road under the management of the Shire of Northam.


Environment and heritage

We have undertaken extensive environmental investigation and consultation government agencies in the development of the project.


Project benefits

The project will deliver key benefits including:

  • A widened road section between Ballidu and Pithara with improved geometry and drainage and centre and edge line marking
  • A realigned southern section, with the removal of two wooden bridges and a rail crossing and improved road geometry
  • Shorter travel times for freight vehicles with consequent improved productivity, fuel and time efficiencies
  • Improved productivity and time efficiencies for freight vehicles by removing the need for road trains to have to break down to 27.5 metre combinations
  • Increased road user safety by reducing the number and severity of crashes
  • Improved opportunities for economic development as a result of improved interstate connectivity through shorter travel times.


Further information  

The project is being managed by our Wheatbelt region.

Any enquiries can be directed to:

Phone: 138 138



Modified: 12 Jan 2017