Dongara to Northampton Corridor Alignment Selection Study

Published on Thursday, 27 August 2020 at 10:41:42 AM

Main Roads WA has completed a study that is considering a realignment of the North West Coastal Highway to enable triple road-trains to travel south from their current termination point at Carnarvon to continue through to Muchea north of Perth. This will require several realignments to bypass Northampton, Geraldton and Dongara and the study has now identified the preferred corridor.

Three of the alignments for the northern section within the Shire of Chapman Valley were investigated with the Shire, Main Roads WA, Mid West Development Commission and the City of Greater Geraldton now supporting Option 6, which is the Northampton Bypass, the upgrade of the existing North West Coastal Highway and the purchase and construction of the Oakajee Narngulu Infrastructure Corridor (‘ONIC’).

Contrary to some recent media commentary the City of Geraldton has previously indicated support for Option 6, though it is understood the City does have some concerns with the possible preferred route between Geraldton and Dongara (i.e. Options 1, 2 and 3).

The Shire of Chapman Valley has been working with all stakeholders over more than five years and though this has been a long and, at times, a difficult process it is pleasing to at least have the section between Northampton and Geraldton (Option 6) being supported by all involved.

A map illustrating the 3 options as they relate to the Shire of Chapman Valley can be viewed below.


The Shires of Northampton and Chapman Valley have written to the Minister for Transport requesting the Main Roads Report be released as a matter of urgency to at least finalise Option 6 as being the preferred route to the north and, if necessary, continue the debate and consultation on the southern section, rather than delay the whole matter at this stage.

In summary the Shire of Chapman Valley’s stance in relation to Option 6 has been reached based on the following. It is pleasing common sense has prevailed in this instance:

  • Option 6 would impact on fewer landowners;
  • Option 6 is along a general alignment that has been identified in planning documents since the 1970’s and landowners who have purchased in vicinity of the alignment since that time would be expected to have given regard for this, Options 4 & 5 have not been previously suggested;
  • Option 6 impacts upon a lesser area of remnant vegetation (noting also that Options 4 & 5 run through 2 Conservation Nature Reserves);
  • Option 6 impacts upon fewer watercourses and tributaries;
  • Option 6 utilises existing road reserve where possible;
  • Option 6 is less expensive to acquire;
  • Argument that Option 6 would be significantly more expensive to construct has not been provided, indeed the preliminary costings provided to the Shire indicate that Option 6 would be less expensive than Options 4 or 5, and costings relating to ‘freight efficiency’ in support of Options 4 or 5 have not been provided;
  • Option 6 is not significantly longer (possibly 5km at most);
  • The majority of the Option 6 alignment between the Wokatherra Gap and the North West Coastal Highway has already been acquired by the State Government for the purposes of the Oakajee Industrial Estate Buffer;
  • In the event that widening for additional passing lanes or dual carriageway is required the land either side of the Option 6 alignment is already under State Government ownership for a 10km section of Option 6 (from White Peak Road to Coronation Beach Road);
  • The acquisition and construction of either Option 4 or 5 would not preclude the need for Option 6 to still be acquired and constructed to provide linkage between the Oakajee Port and Industrial Estate to the Narngulu Industrial Estate, Geraldton Port, iron ore mines and the wider heavy vehicle and rail network;
  • Option 6 can form part of a staged construction of the overall corridor which has more immediate cost and traffic flow advantages, Options 4 & 5 would not provide any linkage until constructed in their entirety as they are new alignments;
  • Option 6 can resolve heavy vehicle traffic issues within Geraldton in a more timely manner than Options 4 & 5;
  • Acquisition of Option 6 as part of this project has the accompanying benefit of providing greater certainty to potential investment and development in the Oakajee Industrial Estate which is currently isolated from rail, road and service corridors;
  • Option 6 provides an improved means for residents of the inland and coastal sections of the Chapman Valley community to interact, Options 4 & 5 do not serve this function;
  • Option 6/ONIC represents the final major piece of state acquisition for the Oakajee Mid West Development Project, with the overall aim being to establish an integrated port and industrial estate at Oakajee; supporting rail and infrastructure corridors to facilitate the development of the resources sector in the Mid West; and ensure the long-term prosperity of the region. Ensuring that the Dongara to Northampton Corridor alignment replicates the ONIC alignment is essential for the Oakajee Mid West Development Project. Without certainty and security over access into the Oakajee Port and Industrial Estate then the previous land acquisitions of the Oakajee Industrial Estate and buffer area are isolated and unworkable, and private enterprise is unable to access the site which can lead to further incidents such as the socially divisive and unsuccessful application for Mining Tenement Miscellaneous Licence (for the purpose of transporting minerals) as previously lodged by Karara Mining Ltd, or provide an obstacle to potential project proponents (such as the current slurry pipeline proposal);
  • Option 6 would also provide a strategic linkage for the Oakajee Port and Industrial Estate to the Narngulu Industrial Estate, Geraldton Port, iron ore mines to the south-east and north-east of Geraldton, and the wider heavy vehicle and rail network, and without it the Oakajee Industrial Estate is considered unlikely to develop to any significant level in the near future. Further to this, strategic industrial projects that do not require rail or port access could be encouraged to establish at the Oakajee site, rather than be lost to the Mid West region due to the Narngulu Industrial Estate being constrained by its cumulative emissions modelling. It might also be considered that logistics, transport, regional waste, energy and general industrial uses might consider the Oakajee Industrial Estate as a viable location were Option 6/ONIC to be in place and providing suitable road connection;
  • There is no funding currently available for any land acquisition or construction of the Dongara to Northampton Corridor Alignment and this would lead to further landowners being left in the position where a ‘line on a map’ is drawn over their property. It is considered that this is an unfair position for a landowner to be held in where there is no known timeframe as to when it will be bought by the state, no indication on what a purchase price might be, and no indication on which state government agency or which process might be responsible for the acquisition process. This level of uncertainty will impact upon landowners who may be considering developing or selling their property or just enjoying the rural lifestyle that attracted them to their homes.

This background information is provided to inform on the position the Shire of Chapman Valley has taken of supporting Option 6, and opposing all other Options in the northern section of the proposed corridor.

Should you wish to discuss this further please contact the Shire office on 9920 5011.

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