APY Lands - main access road upgrade
  • APY Lands logo
  • Pukatja logo
  • Kaltjiti logo
  • Mimili logo
  • Iwantja logo
  • Australian Government logo
  • South Australian Government logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the APY Lands Main Access Road project?

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands Main Access road project is an upgrade to the 210 km main access road between the Stuart Highway and Pukatja in the APY Lands. In addition, approximately 21 km's of community and airstrip access roads in Pukatja (Ernabella), Umuwa, Kaltjiti (Fregon), Mimili and Iwantja (Indulkana) will also form part of the project.

The upgrade is being undertaken in three main stages:

  • Stage 1: Pukatja (Ernabella) to Umuwa (Double Tanks)
  • Stage 2: Umuwa (Double Tanks) to  Mimili
  • Stage 3: Mimili to Iwantja (Indulkana)

Pre-construction activities such as survey work, consultation and material commenced in October 2014, with main works commencing in 2015.

As at May 2019, a total of 54 kilometres has been constructed, including the Pukatja (Ernabella) Airstrip Access Road, a 7 kilometre section from the Stuart Highway to Iwantja (Indulkana), and the 43 kilometre section (Stage 1) between Pukatja (Ernabella) to Umuwa (Double Tank).

Works on Stage 3, from Mimili to Iwantja (Indulkana) are underway, and expected to be completed by July 2020, weather permitting.

What are the benefits?

The improvements will provide a range of community benefits and will contribute to national and state Aboriginal affairs policy objectives. Benefits include:

  • Sustained employment opportunities
  • 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
  • All weather access in bad weather e.g. sealed floodway’s.

Why are there reduced speed limits?

Constructing a new road with complex construction works, within a narrow corridor and a constantly changing environment, while safely maintaining an operating road network has many challenges. A reduced speed limit will be implemented for the safety of all road users and workers and installed in accordance with Australian Standards and relevant guidelines, as required for construction works. The restrictions are necessary, regardless of the presence of workers, for several reasons including:

  • Reduced road widths
  • Workzone traffic management
  • Proximity of workers to traffic
  • Hazards on the road

How is the community being engaged throughout the project?

Community engagement is a high priority for the department and the APY Executive Board during planning, design and construction of the APY Lands Main Access Road project. The project team will be partnering with the APY Executive Board, Traditional Owners and Communities and will continue to engage with all stakeholders on specific design elements throughout the project.

For detailed information visit the community engagement page of the project website.

How will sensitive areas be managed?

The department has been working in partnership with the APY Executive Board and local stakeholders to assist with management of sensitive heritage and environmental areas during the planning and design phase of the project. The department will continue to engage with these groups throughout.

What will happen to the Maintenance Grading Program?

Maintenance grading will continue throughout the project on all roads not under construction. Once the new road is constructed it will be maintained within the maintenance grading program.

Under the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981, the Commissioner of Highways may carry out road works upon the lands with the consent of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara.