96 trees chopped down to 'duplicate' highway


2613 Stuart Highway trees OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Work on the “duplication” of the North Stuart Highway near Bunnings has made it necessary to cut down 96 trees, according to the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
It says 2,000 locally-sourced plants will be planted as part of the landscaping works associated with the project.
“This landscaping is expected to be completed in June 2019,” according to a department spokesperson who gave no prediction about the time it will take for these trees to grow to the size of the ones “removed”.
We have asked the following further questions: Why is “road duplication” considered necessary? What are the traffic statistics? Are there national guidelines being used to determine the need for the duplication? What is its cost? Is it paid for by the NT Government or (being a national highway) by the Commonwealth Government? When (if ever) has there been a traffic jam on that section of the road?
We will publish the replies when they are provided.


UPDATE 1.40pm Friday
A spokesman for the department provided the following details:-
The main purpose of the upgrade is safety. In its current configuration, there is no delineation between different road users, increasing road safety risk.This section of the highway currently experiences high levels of through and turning  heavy vehicle traffic. As traffic grows, this increases safety risks to light vehicle traffic, pedestrian and cyclists.
This project qualified for funding under the Commonwealth Safety and Fatigue Management program. The design has been undertaken with Australian Standards and Austroads Design Guidelines.
It is a $10m Commonwealth Government funded project.


  1. One cannot help but be suspicious that there are government policies (at all levels) of “wreck and rebuild” as a means of generating economic activity as a means for propping up the business sector when the economy is tanking.

  2. Pretty rotten section of the road to be riding a bike on, duplication will be a boon to Alice cyclists I think.
    The trees will regrow, and will actually increase their intake of carbon as they do.

  3. Should have been done 30 years ago.
    Once finished it will be hard to belive it hadn’t been done sooner.

  4. Um!! If safety is the main reasoning for road widening on North Stuart Highway, can we have an update on pedestrian safety through the Gap? I would have thought that would be a priority.

  5. Good that the Federal Government or at least the responsible Commonwealth body realises there is a town here, but it is a waste of money in my opinion.
    A bit like the parking bay at the south Welcome to Alice Springs sign, and putting traffic back into the north end of Todd Mall.
    I’ve never seen anything approaching traffic congestion where these latest update works are being done.

  6. For whatever reason this work has attracted funding right now, it’s a good thing.
    Think of it as another small step on the Outback Way.

  7. It will take 50 years and a lot of care to replace those beautiful trees. It’s not easy growing trees in such harsh conditions. Why cut down beautiful trees? Why widen the road? It’s butt ugly now.

  8. Exactly who in the government department made this dismal decision?
    Surely a duplication design solution that retained the trees could have been developed with just a little more creativity.
    Mature trees are far too undervalued in this town and to lose nearly a hundred in one go can only be described as environmental vandalism.

  9. This is not exactly news. I have read about this twice before. I think it was at the start of 2017 I read in the NT News that the North Stuart Highway was going to be upgraded.
    Then last year I recall reading about the project going out to tender. I am pretty sure it was in the Alice Springs News or the NT News where I saw it. The plan was always there to cut the trees down and replant trees after the road were to be upgraded.
    As for trees and highways: You can still have both. Gumtrees will grow fast if they receive constant watering. I know as many years ago I lived in Braitling and we planted several trees from pot plants. All trees were watered daily and the gumtrees grew fast.
    They only took a few years to be a few meters high and after like 10 to 12 years they were well and truly towering twice the height of our single story house.

  10. While we are talking trees. It appears according to the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics that the section between Herbert Heritage Drive and Woods Terrace is also under review for future upgrade. So look out for more trees coming down.
    As silly as it may be I’d say this actually makes sense, as eventually there will be four lanes from north of the Motor Registry all the way through to the big five way round about at The Gap. But why have four lanes up north, drop it back to two then widen to four again?
    Therefore I’d say the Dixon Road to Woods Terrace duplication has always been on the cards. Only fixing the northern section first is probably easier to do than the bit that has already had extra slip lanes added to it not so long ago (in the last ~ 20 years).
    I further suspect that one day the government and council will seek to widen Heavytree Gap and have four lanes through there too all the way to either Ross Highway.
    Perhaps further stages will include going to Ilparpa Road, and maybe all the way to Colonel Rose Drive (especially if the housing estate out at Killgariff continues to sprawl towards the river).

  11. Hi Former Alice Local. I reported about the highway upgrade in November 2016 when the department gave a briefing to the Town Council. As I recall chopping down trees was not part of that briefing.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor, Alice Springs News Online.


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