The Northern Territory Government is investigating options to help improve traffic flow through Heavitree Gap (Ntaripe) in Alice Springs.
According to the Northern Territory Government, traffic modelling and research has indicated that the Stuart Highway, which connects the north and south of Australia, will need upgrading to meet future traffic needs.
To ensure the upgrades take road user needs into account, engineering consultant SMEC will investigate a long term infrastructure solution, taking into consideration road user needs, cultural values, travel efficiency and aesthetics.
Executive Director of Transport Planning Bruce Michael said consultation with locals is important to get the design right for the long term future of Alice Springs.
“Community consultation is now open and the Alice Springs community are invited to contribute ideas and feedback on the development of concept designs for duplicating the Stuart Highway through The Gap,” he said.
“The Gap is reasonably narrow and constrained by the road, the National Railway line and the Todd River. There are a number of Aboriginal sacred sites, heritage sites, as well as power and water services that are also located in The Gap.”
The MacDonnell Ranges and the Todd River are important to the Alice Springs community and are Australian tourist icons, according to the Northern Territory Government. The engineering solutions will aim to compliment the natural beauty of the areas and respect the cultural heritage.
“Consultation on this long term planning project will occur over three stages. Stage one is open now and aims to identify possible design constraints and opportunities. Stage two will share possible engineering solutions with the view to identify the preferred design. In stage three, the final concept designs will be shared for information and comment,” said Mr Michael.
Community input into the planning will build on the information gathered from previous studies relevant to Alice Springs and the Gap.