Arvo Tinni AM 1935 – 2023

Arvo Tinni AM with his wife Malle (Photo courtesy of John Hodgkinson)

RA is saddened by the passing of Arvo Tinni AM, a previous winner of the John Shaw Medal and a true pioneer of modern road construction technique.

Arvo Tinni spent his working life in the pursuit of excellence. His body of work covered not only the practical side of construction, but also embraced leading edge design and research.  Arvo had a legendary ability to unravel complex problems and come up with innovative solutions

Many of the ideas developed by Arvo Tinni, such as road maintenance policies, model specifications and quality assurance in road contracts, went on to become industry performance standards which exemplify engineering excellence.

Some of the “firsts” which attest to Arvo’s creativity include:

  • Wrote the first DMR Model Specifications for Roadworks (1980)
  • Documented the first Department of Main Roads NSW’s Regional Maintenance Policy (1983)
  • Managed the introduction of computer technology into RTA offices in NSW (1985)
  • Established the first DMR pavement management system (1987)
  • Compiled and wrote the Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW’s (‘RTA’)  “Contract Administration Manual” (1992)
  • Documented the contract road maintenance policy for the SA Department of Transport, which is still in use today (1994)
  • Implemented the first Electronic Toll Collection system in Australia (M2 Motorway) (1998)
  • Assisted Abigroup / RTA team to develop the design of Seamless Reinforced Concrete Paving for the M7 Motorway.  Continuous over 40kms, this was a world first and recognised in major international awards.

Arvo Tinni also gave generously of his time and expertise to educate others. He was an enthusiastic mentor to many young engineers and was always willing to share his vast experience and knowledge through the regular technical papers he produced over many years.

It was this dedicated service to our industry which saw Arvo awarded the John Shaw Medal in 2010. In the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was also made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for significant service to engineering through contributions to the road construction sector, as an industry leader, innovator and mentor.

RA extends its deepest condolences to Arvo’s wife Malle, son Alar and all Arvo’s family and friends.

A memorial service for Arvo will be held on Tuesday, 31 January. For details, click here

Arvo Tinni AM is presented with the John Shaw Medal by RA President Ray Fisher in 2010
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