The Australian Government and the South Australian Governments are upgrading 210 km of the Main Access Road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja (Ernabella) in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.
In addition, approximately 21 km's of community and airstrip access roads in Pukatja (Ernabella), Umuwa, Kaltjiti (Fregon), Mimili and Iwantja (Indulkana) also form part of the project.
The current main access road is in poor condition with sections of high corrugation and areas below the natural surface level resulting in flooding and inaccessibility at times.
This upgrade will require the road surface to be built up and reformed on the existing alignment; however minor realignments may be required on the adjacent natural surface to improve safety.
The improvements will provide a range of community benefits and will contribute to national and State Aboriginal Affairs policy objectives.
The project will also provide employment opportunities for Anangu in the local communities.
Key benefits include:
- Safer travel between the communities
- Improved delivery of food supplies
- Improved emergency service access during poor weather
- Improved access to training and employment opportunities
- Improved living standards as a result of better services access
- Additional community interaction and social exchange
- Less wear and tear on vehicles
- Less road flooding
The upgrade is being undertaken in three main stages:
- Stage 1: Pukatja (Ernabella) to Umuwa (Double Tank)
- Stage 2: Umuwa (Double Tank) to Mimili
- Stage 3: Mimili to Iwantja (Indulkana)
As at March 2021, a total of 135 kilometres has been constructed, including the Pukatja (Ernabella) Airstrip Access Road, the 43 kilometre section (Stage 1) between Pukatja (Ernabella) to Umuwa (Double Tank), the 14 kilometre section between Umuwa (Double Tank) to Kaltjiti (Fregon) and the 74 kilometre section (Stage 3) from the Stuart Highway to Mimili.
The remaining section within Stage 2 between Kaltjiti (Fregon) and Mimili is currently being constructed.
Sealing of the Mimili Access, Mimili Airstrip Access Road and floodways is expected to commence in late 2021.
The communities and stakeholders will be invited to engage in project related meetings and will be kept informed for the duration of the project.
The Australian Government is contributing $113.42 million towards the $141.78 million project with the remaining $28.36 million being provided by the South Australian Government.