10 kilometres of bitumen doesn’t sound like much but slowly but surely the iconic 660km Gibb River Road across the Kimberley is being sealed.
This week, The West Australian announced that the WA State Government had awarded the contract to seal another 10km stretch of the Gibb at the western end to Bitumen Sealing Services Pty Ltd for $750,000 with the work due for completion by June 2017.
To date, around 120 km’s of the western end of the Gibb River Road has now been sealed as part of the governments 10 year strategy to make improvements to high priority sections between Derby and Wyndham.
The ultimate goal is to provide the freight industry, tourists and local community with improved safety and accessibility, particularly during the wet season.
Personally, I’m not excited to see the iconic Gibb River road succumb to bitumen.
I understand that for many road users like the freight and cattle industries it’s about business, and accessibility is important.
But from the perspective of a road tripper, the appeal of roads like the Gibb are that they are difficult and challenging - the end result being that when you arrive somewhere you feel like you’ve earned it. Plus the fact that there are not hundreds of shiny caravans there to greet you.
With the Tanami Road also being ‘improved’ at a fairly steady rate, I can see a future where there will be a bitumen corridor from the Red Centre to the Kimberley and across the Gibb River Road and the numbers of visitors will rise exponentially.
I suppose that will be good for the business’s who depend on the tourist dollar but one of the best things about Western Australia is it’s remoteness and the fact that it isn’t yet overcrowded like much of the East coast.
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More about The Gibb River Road
Here's a quick highlights video of our Gibb River Road adventure from The Big Lap DVD Series