The discovery of unsealed asbestos deposits has pushed back the completion of the Stage 3 upgrade of Western Australia’s Karratha-Tom Price Road. The area in question was formerly used for transporting crocidolite before the 1966 closure of the Wittenoom mines. Meanwhile, the 48-km Karratha-Tom Price Road upgrade is supposedly one of WA’s most important road projects in recent history.

So far, 12,000 cubic meters of the asbestos has been freshly buried in containment cells by a licensed specialist.

Bidders for Karratha-Tom Price Road Discouraged by Asbestos Complications

North West Central MLA Vince Catania admitted that road construction companies have hesitated to bid for “potentially litigious” Stage Three, which requires an asbestos management plan. Instead of waiting on these companies, he called on the State Government to take the project into its own hands. “In my opinion, (that is) the only way that this road will be sealed,” he said.

So far, the State Government has invested $50 million in the Karratha-Tom Price Road upgrade. The Federal Government previously committed $248 million to the project as well.

Main Roads WA confirmed that an asbestos management plan is among the requirements for contractors. However, it also said it would work alongside the contractor to deal with the “unknown risk” presented by the Wittenoom asbestos deposits.

The State Government has also pledged assistance to help the contractor smoothen their asbestos management plans, according to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

Read the original report here.

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