By ERWIN CHLANDA
The first seal of the Outback Way, which traverses Australia east-west through Alice Springs, may be longer than the Federal Government is estimating.
Huge fluctuations in construction costs may come into play, making the per-kilometer cost much lower than budgeted by Canberra.
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss recently approved stage one of the project, estimating the per-kilometer cost at $825,000, for about 16 kilometres of sections on Tjukaruru Road and the Plenty Highway.
This is more than three times the cost for which the Boulia Shire in Queensland suggested it could build the road.
A spokesman for the NT Department of Infrastructure, which is responsible for carrying out the work and meeting the the cost dollar for dollar, says the tender process will be open for allcomers.
“The work involves road formation and sealing works, 12km on the Plenty Highway and 4km on the Tjukarura Road.
“The works will be public tendered shortly and the successful company will be selected via a competitive process, not on a fixed cost per kilometre.
“If savings are achieved on this project, further upgrades of the Outback Way will be undertaken.”
Will tenders be restricted to Territory companies?
“As the tender process will be a public tender, industry players from any jurisdiction can submit tenders,” says the spokesman.
“The tenders are then evaluated on a value for money basis where factors including price, local development, capacity and past performance are considered.
“Contractors must also have NT CAL accreditation.”