Sealing of the notorious Tanami Road has begun, with the first stage of infrastructure project due to be completed by the end of next year. Federal and State government ministers made the announcement on June 23, kicking off the first stage of their $542.8 million commitment to seal the 313km WA section of the road over the next decade. Tanami Road links the great Northern Highway near Halls Creek to the NT border, extending all the way through to Alice Springs. The 1035km stretch of dirt road is notoriously difficult to drive with just a fifth of the road being sealed with bitumen while the rest is dirt and gravel. Closures of the road are common with weather conditions during both wet and dry season frequently making the road impassable. The long-awaited infrastructure project will provide a more resilient freight network, according to the Government, which Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said will ensure safe, all-year access for local residents and those travelling into WA from the east. “We saw firsthand during the Kimberley floods the impact when road access is cut, so investing in new sealed road connections, like the Tanami, will be critical for our future resilience to severe weather,” she said. In the NT, 300km of the 703km section of road has already been sealed, with an additional 30km from Alice Springs due for completion this year, and a further 90km due for completion during 2025. It comes after it was revealed during Budget Estimates in early June the project would take a decade to complete, instead of its original 2030 deadline. East Kimberley community leaders said the delay would have severe economic impacts on those set to benefit from the project.