ROAD upgrades are coming to Esperance as the Western Australian government aims to improve safety, access and efficiency at Southern Ports’ Port of Esperance.

The state government is investing $12.2 million to deliver stage two and three of the Port Roads Improvement Program, a three-year project to renew essential infrastructure.

Stage one works are already underway, comprising a $7.4-million upgrade to Hughes Road, the sole heavy vehicle access road into the Port of Esperance.

Future works will now include the reconstruction of degraded areas of road pavement on existing heavy vehicle roads within the port, as well as changes to the existing port access intersection layout to accommodate the significant growth in B-triple road trains accessing it.

When complete, heavy vehicles will have easier port access and a more streamlined route that avoids unsafe interactions and challenging turning circles.

The Port of Esperance had a trade throughput of 13.6 million tonnes in 2022-23 with almost half (44%) of that trade transported by road.

More than 300,000 truck movements are recorded at the port each year, the majority carrying non-iron ore trade including grain, spodumene, nickel, fertiliser and sulphur.

The Port of Esperance is the only deepwater port in the southern region and one of only two container crane ports in Western Australia.

As the third-largest spodumene port in the world, and the region’s second largest employer, the state-owned and operated port is a key contributor to Western Australia’s economic prosperity.

WA ports minister David Michael said nearly all of the port’s non-iron ore trade is transported by road.

“As the port continues to diversify beyond its traditional iron ore base, the delivery of quality road infrastructure is essential,” he said.

“This investment prioritises the safety of our road users and port workers, while also positioning the Port of Esperance to accommodate trade growth.”