The Ripon Hills Road was officially opened in November 1999, to provide a new route through the remote east Pilbara.
Mining, pastoral, exploration, tourism and the transport industries have benefitted from the road which has been built through some of the most rugged terrain in Western Australia.
The 132 km road connects Marble Bar Road with the Woodie-Telfer Road where the Woodie Woodie project produces high grade manganese ore .
While the first 40 km of the project was through flat terrain, the rugged range, gorges and river country presented major engineering challenges. The heaviest earthworks took place over three kilometres at Bulgarina Hill where steeply sided hills were separated by narrow, deeply incised valleys.
Materials for construction were sourced using Landsat imagery with support from specialised technicians from Perth. This was followed by stockpiling of 450,000 cubic metres of gravel by a fleet of dozers, and extensive rehabilitation for ground cover and seed regeneration.
The Ripon Hills were named by Frank Gregory during his major North West Australia Exploring Expedition in 1861. They were named after the Marquis of Ripon, formerly Earl De Grey, who, as President of the Royal Geographical Society, took a lively interest in promoting Gregory’s expedition.