The upgrade of two major highways in the Kimberly region of North Western Australia has commenced.

The Kimberly is known for its size – larger than the UK – and its remoteness, with town mostly accessed by dirt road.

The refurbishment work on the Great Northern Highway and the Derby Highway includes reconstruction of the Ellendale section of the Great Northern Highway and an 8.5km stretch of the Derby Highway.

It also includes highway widening, the installation of new floodways, improved drainage and the construction of new intersection including one at Curtin Airbase.

Western Australia Transport Minister Simon O’Brien says that once complete, the upgrades will deliver better and safer driving conditions, particularly for the thousands of trucks that use the roads every day.

The project, being funded by Federal Government (AUS$7.2m) and by the Western Australian Government (AUS$3.8m), is expected to be complete by end of 2009.