Commuting in Port Hedland is set to improve following the completion of the first package of works on the Port Hedland Road and Rail Safety Improvement Project.

Stage one has officially opened, which includes the construction of a bridge over BHP’s Buttweld Road rail line eliminating the existing level crossing providing road users with additional safety benefits, improved journey times and a better alternative access for those travelling to and from South Hedland.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti was joined by Warren Wellbeloved, BHP General Manager Rail, to officially open the $31.48 million BHP-funded Stage 1 works.

“There is nothing more important to BHP than the safety of our people and the community,” Warren said.

“BHP’s continued investment in this project will improve safety at our level rail crossings and provide jobs through the construction period while allowing travel around Port Hedland to become quicker and more efficient.”

Minister Saffioti said: “This project is a fantastic example of governments working closely with industry to deliver better outcomes for the local community, and while we’re at the halfway point of this project, it is already delivering improved road safety.

“Removal of these rail crossings will eliminate the risk of accidents, and the need for vehicles to be stuck at rail crossings for long periods of time, whilst long freight trains pass by.”

Construction has begun on the $76 million second package of works, jointly funded by the Australian Government ($50.2 million), the State Government ($12.54 million) and BHP ($13.26 million).

The project also involves the realignment of approximately 4.75km of the Great Northern Highway. A second bridge over the BHP rail line will also be constructed, eliminating another level crossing.