Gulf Savannah Way

Project Description

The Savannah Way traverses Northern Australia, linking Cairns to Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley.  The route is approximately 3,700km, crossing 15 National Parks, 5 World Heritage areas, and a variety of natural ecosystems across the Top End.  Large parts of the route are unsealed and flood prone, isolating communities during the wet season and limiting the economic value of this northern road link.


Totaling $107.15M this infrastructure priority comprises that portion of the Savannah Way that traverses through the TNQ Region. Early estimates to upgrade the Savannah Way to a 6m wide sealed standard on 8m wide shoulders and to raise floodways with 1.2m culverts at the Leichhardt River, Gregory River, Nicholson River and Branch Creek are:

  • Doomadgee Shire upgrade $18.55M. The unsealed road within Doomadgee Shire (15.4kms) has been included so that the whole of the Savannah Way is sealed. Over the 70km of road construction (upgrade and sealing) there are 8 recommended concrete floodway locations, all of which are in Burke Shire. These are all included in the estimate.
  • Nicholson River Crossing $33.4M. The western side is lower than the eastern side of the present floodway, therefore an embankment will be required on the eastern side and culverts on the western side. The design is on the current alignment requiring a side track for traffic.
  • Branch Creek Crossing $9M. The present road alignment involves steep approaches and tight curves which will require realignments and cuttings to achieve gentler slopes. The alignment is skewed through the creek at a 30 degree angle in an attempt to eliminate the current dangerous approaching corners.
  • Leichhardt River Crossing $35.8M. The upgrade is to be constructed adjacent to the current floodway allowing for the current bridge and floodway to be used as a side track whilst construction is underway.
  • Gregory River Crossing $10.4M. The structure length is 180m, with a 300m bitumen approach, 60m embankment and 120m culverts (with a 20m widening on the existing eastern approach). The upgrade is to be constructed adjacent to the current floodway with approach straightened to allow ease of approach for maximum flow through culverts.

North West Queensland

  • That the Commonwealth Government supports the sealing and flood-proofing of this northern National Highway utilising the existing workforces of the Burke and Carpentaria Shires to complete the project.
  • That this project has committed funding of 80% Commonwealth Government and 20% State Government as per the Commonwealth State Roads funding model, with allocation of funds determined in 2017/18 for, and funds flowing to LGAs from 2018/19.

Kevin Byrne, CEO, Advance Cairns
Ph: 07 4080 2900

PROPONENTS: Advance Cairns, Burke Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council LGAs
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
COUNCILS: Burke, Carpentaria, Doomadgee LGAs