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Roads Australia Insider - March 28, 2017


Half a billion dollar roads package announced for Queensland

The Australian and Queensland governments announced last week that they had reached agreement on a roads package worth more than half a billion dollars, paving the way for early works to commence on two key M1 projects later this year.

The Package includes:

  • Six-laning of the Pacific Motorway (M1)—Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes
  • A major upgrade of the M1/Gateway Motorway merge (southbound lanes) at Eight Mile Plains
  • Construction of the Walkerston bypass near Mackay
  • Widening of the Mt Lindesay Highway between Browns Plains and Beaudesert
  • Funding for the planning of the M1—Varsity Lakes to Tugun.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said he was delighted that agreement had been reached on these five important projects.

“Although final project costs for the M1 will not be known until the end of April, we have reached an agreement that the Australian Government will keep our money on the table with the State picking up the balance,” Mr Chester said.

“The tender processes are expected to bring the cost down, so the final splits will not be known until then. The important thing is we have broken the impasse and will work together to deliver these important projects.”

Queensland Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety, Mark Bailey, said early works on the M1 Gateway Merge project are expected to commence in November 2017 with major construction to begin following the Commonwealth Games.

“The M1—Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes project is anticipated to commence early works mid-2017 with major construction also to follow the Commonwealth Games,” Mr Bailey said.

“Construction for the $150 million Walkerston Bypass will begin following completion of the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1 project, extending the pipeline of local jobs in the Mackay region.

“The Queensland Government is also investing $5 million to progress the planning and business case development for the six-laning of the Pacific Motorway between Varsity Lakes and Tugun—the next highest priority upgrade on the southern end of motorway.”


Beaches Link and Western Harbour Tunnel route unveiled

The NSW Government has this month announced a preferred route, the start of geotechnical drilling and the commencement of a market sounding process for the delivery of Beaches Link and the Western Harbour Tunnel.  

The Government has committed $77 million to undertake necessary geotechnical work along the route, to start just after Easter.

The next stage of work, expected to be completed in mid-2018, will include:

  • reference design;
  • final project costings;
  • funding strategy including tolling options and private sector involvement; and
  • construction timelines including start and completion dates.  

The Beaches Link tunnel will connect the Warringah Freeway, cross underneath Middle Harbour connecting with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah and upgrade the Wakehurst Parkway to two lanes each way, between Seaforth and Frenchs Forest.   It will bypass up to 19 sets of traffic lights and cut up to 40 minutes in travel time between Brookvale and the CBD and will also slash up to 45 minutes between Manly and Parramatta.   The tunnel will reduce travel times for Northern Beaches bus commuters by up to 40 per cent and will also reduce rat-running on local streets.  

The Western Harbour Tunnel will connect to WestConnex at the Rozelle Interchange, cross underneath Sydney Harbour and connect with the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney.

Find out more about the project by visiting the RMS website.

Contracts awarded for Pac-Way bridge components

Contracts were awarded last week for components for more than 100 bridges to be built along the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

  • The successful contractors were:
    Lendlease Engineering – to supply more than 2700 headstocks, planks and abutments to the project
  • CPB Contractors  – to provide about 800 Super T girder
  • Boral Resources – to provide about 60,000 cubic metres of concrete        

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said the decision to use precast components meant most bridges would be built about five to 15 per cent faster than traditional construction.  

“This more efficient construction method will ensure the upgrades remain on track to open to traffic by 2020,” Mrs Pavey said.  

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly funding the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade on an 80:20 basis. For more information on the project and tender awards please visit the RMS website.

Articulated trucks carry bulk of load on Aussie roads

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on motor vehicle usage estimates the national domestic road freight task at 204,575 million tonne kilometres (tkm) – equivalent to a B-double making more than 4,250 return trips to the moon.

For the same statistical year (2015-16), Australian passenger vehicles travelled a total of 175,899 million kilometres, an average of 12,827 kilometres per vehicle. At an average speed of 60 kilometres per hour, that's a staggering 8.9 days behind the wheel.  

Vehicles registered in Victoria had the largest road freight task at 54,306 million tkms in 2015-16. This was followed by Queensland with 47,468 million tkms, NSW (45,225 million tkm), WA (33,153 million tkm), SA (17,108 million tkm), Northern Territory (3,427 million tkm), Tasmania (3,376 million tkm) and the ACT (511 million tkm). 

More than 75 per cent of freight transport was undertaken by articulated trucks, although these make up less than five per cent of the number of registered freight vehicles.   Some 30 per cent of total tonnes moved around Australia were crude materials, 14 per cent were food and live animals and 12 per cent were manufactured goods.  

The latest figures help inform the Australian Government's National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, aimed at improving the safety and productivity of the freight task in Australia.

More details are available in Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 2016 (cat. no 9208.0), available for free download from the ABS website.

New strategy aims to maximise value capture from Victorian major projects

The Victorian Government has released a new framework focussed on realising and creating value from its major projects, rather than taxing beneficiaries.

Minister for Major Projects, Jacinta Allan, last week released the Value Creation and Capture Framework, setting out how the Government will harness its infrastructure investment to generate benefit for taxpayers and broader social benefits – like jobs and skills, the better use of surplus land, as well as better housing, community facilities and open space.

Minister Allan says the new framework provides a clear picture for business and the community of the types of value capture and creation initiatives the Government will support.

The Framework will apply to all major projects and precinct developments in Victoria, with agencies required to explore all value capture and creation options in the development of their proposals.

The new Framework complements the Major Project Skills Guarantee which ensures that at least 10 per cent of all work on major projects in Victoria is done by trainees, apprentices and cadets.

In addition, under its Local Jobs First Policy, strategic projects valued at over $50 million require companies to meet minimum local content requirements using local firms, materials, expertise and skills.

The report can be found at

Cardno, RA and CareerSeekers join forces to help skilled asylum seekers and refugees find their feet

Cardno and CareerSeekers teamed up earlier this month to put on a week-long training program for highly skilled and tertiary-qualified asylum seekers and refugees.

CareerSeekers is a not-for-profit organisation that assists refugees and asylum seekers with access to workplace opportunities via 12-week internships with leading organisations.

The week-long training was held in Cardno’s Melbourne office for more than 20 refugees and asylum seekers as part of CareerSeeker’s Mid-career Professionals Program.

At the end of the week, Cardno hosted a Roads Australia networking event to celebrate the partnership with CareerSeekers, with over 100 in attendance from various organisations. Speakers included RA’s Executive Director for Stakeholders and Strategy, Lauren Streifer; Deputy CEO of CareerSeekers, Ash Nugent; and Farid Rezaie, a former program participant who shared his successful experience with CareerSeekers.

Cardno’s Victoria Infrastructure Group Manager, Matthew Finnigan, thanked CareerSeekers for the important role they were playing for asylum seekers and refugees, as well as Roads Australia for providing Cardno with the opportunity to host the training and networking event.

“At Cardno we recognise the importance of connecting with the communities we work and live in and we are always looking for ways to improve,” Matthew said.

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