The Australian Government has issued tenders for a major upgrade of the first section of the 210km main access road between Pukatja and Umuwa in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

The winning contractor will be responsible for formation and sheeting of 43km of the road in the far north-west of the state.

Valued at $106.25m, the APY Lands main access road upgrade project also covers nearly 21km of community and airstrip access roads in Pukatja (Ernabella), Umuwa, Kaltjiti (Fregon), Mimili and Iwantja (Indulkana).

"The works will improve the local Anangu community’s access to essential services and facilities."

The current main access road is said to be in poor condition with sections of high-corrugation and areas below the natural surface level, leading to flooding and inaccessibility at times.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss said: "The works will improve the local Anangu community’s access to essential services and facilities in line with the national objective of improving the living standards of all Australians.

"These works will also provide for some minor road alignment and drainage and floodway improvements."

South Australian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Stephen Mullighan said: "The tender closes on 1 December and will be assessed in line with the state’s industry participation policy.

"Works on site are expected to commence early in 2016 and be completed later that year, weather permitting."

While the Australian Government is contributing $85m towards the total cost of the five-year upgrade of the entire 210km of road, the remaining $21.25m are being provided by the South Australia Government.

Construction will be carried out in stages, and some of the key benefits include safer travel between the communities, less wear and tear on vehicles, reduced road flooding, as well as improved delivery of food supplies and emergency service access during poor weather.