PortLink was conceived as a large-scale nation building project to create a more robust State freight network and open up the Goldfields-Esperance, Pilbara and Mid West regions to development opportunities.

Rail car in the sunset

  What is PortLink?

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Royalties for Regions allocated $5 million over three years to the Department of Transport to plan and investigate the PortLink concept. Commonwealth funding of $2 million through the Commonwealth Government's Infrastructure Investment program was also provided.

Five studies were undertaken:

  • Planning and feasibility for an Intermodal Freight Terminal (IMT) in Kalgoorlie and associated freight logistics arrangements;
  • Planning for new road and railway realignments around Kalgoorlie;
  • Planning for the upgrade of the Wiluna to Meekatharra Road;
  • Identification of potential new road/railway corridors to link the Goldfields region to regional ports in the Mid West and Pilbara; and
  • Economic summary of the PortLink concept.

  Project activities and outcomes

The outcomes of the studies are as follows:

1. An Intermodal Freight Terminal (IMT) in Kalgoorlie and associated freight logistics arrangements

This study was to establish the technical and operational feasibility of a potential intermodal terminal in Kalgoorlie which could attract more business to the region. Preferred locations and the associated cost, operational requirements, timeframe and land needs were investigated including any necessary rail and road realignments to support the preferred IMT location.

The feasibility study found that there is insufficient forecast demand for a new greenfields intermodal freight terminal and that a new IMT is not economically viable in the short to medium term. The expansion of the current Aurizon IMT at West Kalgoorlie can cater for any foreseeable increase in freight movements in the Kalgoorlie-Goldfields area.

2. New road and railway realignments around Kalgoorlie

This study defined a road bypass and rail corridor realignment around the Kalgoorlie city centre to improve transport safety, enhance social benefits to the community and enable economic opportunities with the expansion of mining activity. The study included the detailed planning required for the realignment of the existing rail network that runs through the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and planning of the proposed north-west highway bypass.

Consultation with the community, businesses and industry was an important aspect of this study and was undertaken in late 2013. A total of 237 submissions were received from key stakeholders and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community and were taken into account in the decision making to select a road and rail corridor. The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder indicated a preference for a southern rail option as it had less constraints for future residential development.

The City has agreed to accommodate both the northern and southern rail options in its Local Planning Strategy.

The proposed road and rail corridors are shown below.

PROJ_P_PortLink_RoadRailAlignments.pdf icon Proposed road and rail alignments: PortLink Kb

3. Upgrade of the Wiluna - Meekatharra Road

This study was managed by Main Roads Western Australia and involved the planning, design and cost estimation for upgrading and sealing the Goldfields Highway between Wiluna and Meekatharra. The upgrading of the highway would enhance transport security, road safety and community access to services in Meekatharra by providing a more robust and reliable road during seasonal weather conditions.

The work included a waterways investigation, environmental planning, a materials investigation and geotechnical studies, aboriginal heritage surveys, detailed road design drawings, land requirement plans and a cost estimate.

4. Identification of potential new road/railway corridors to link the Goldfields region to regional ports

This transport corridor study assessed the case for new road and/or rail transport links from the Goldfields to the Mid West. This desktop study assessed the opportunities and constraints for new transport corridors, transport demand, environmental and heritage factors and prepared corridor option plans.

One of the main demands for a new transport corridor is from the Yilgarn iron ore region and a new rail corridor would best serve this future freight task. The preferred corridor is an extension eastwards from the existing Karara spur rail line to meet the existing rail line at Menzies.

DoT and Main Roads also completed an investigation of three potential new direct northern road options from the Wiluna to Meekatharra Road to Great Northern Highway. This involved substantial consultation with mining and transport companies, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Department of Regional Development, business owners and freight and transport service providers in the Pilbara and Goldfields-Esperance area. The potential for new business that could benefit from this new route was also investigated.

The study determined that there are few new business opportunities available, primarily because of constraints to changes in supply chains and long term contractual commitments.

A benefit cost analysis was undertaken on each road option. The study found that a new road link is not warranted, as the costs of constructing a new northern link road significantly outweigh the benefits.

  Project next steps

At the PortLink Steering Committee final meeting on the 19 February 2016, the Committee endorsed the PortLink Economic Summary as a summary of the work that had been undertaken for the PortLink project. A link to the report can be found below.

The immediate next steps arising from PortLink are the following two pieces of work which are currently being progressed:

The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is progressing modifications to the Local Planning Strategy to indicate the preferred alignments of the road bypass and rail realignments as a precursor to the eventual reservation of land required in the local town planning scheme. The purpose of this is to secure the land required for the road and rail realignments. The Local Planning Strategy will also identify land for potential new IMT site locations.

The last unsealed section of the Goldfields Highway (between Wiluna and Meekatharra) is to be completed with $60 million Royalties for Regions investment

PROJ_P_PortLink_ProjectEconomicSummary.pdf icon PortLink Economic Summary: Final report Kb

  Ports related links


Page last updated: Thu Oct 27 2016 11:29:07 AM