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Roads Australia Insider - June 3, 2016


Lendlease wins Northern Connector major contract

The contract to design and build Adelaide’s 15.5-kilomtere, $985 million Northern Connector project has been awarded to preferred contractor, Lendlease.

Major works are expected to start in the third quarter of this year be completed by December 2019.  

The project will include:   ·      

  • four road interchanges,
  • a motorway with three lanes in each direction, with a posted speed of 110 km/h, and
  • a 16km long, three metre wide separated shared used path for cyclists and pedestrians that will connect to the existing 23km long path adjacent to the Northern Expressway.  

The Australian Government is committing $788 million to the project, with $197 million from the South Australian Government.  

Federal Minister for Major Projects, Paul Fletcher, said this week the six-lane freeway would transform the road user experience for people in the 52,000 vehicles a day expected to use it when completed.

“It will provide significant productivity benefits for freight travelling between Adelaide and the northern, western and eastern parts of South Australia, as well as to and from other states. It is also expected to significantly improve freight access to Port Adelaide and the industrial areas of Adelaide’s north and north-west, bypassing six sets of traffic lights.” he said.


First stage of Ipswich Motorway one step closer to construction

The Ipswich Motorway is one step closer following the calling last week of Expressions of Interest for Stage 1 (Rocklea to Darra).

Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister, Mark Bailey, said Stage 1 had already attracted strong interest from the construction industry.

“We’re asking for innovation and capability from industry to make certain we get a solution that serves road users and delivers value for money,” he said.

“The contract to design and construct Stage 1 of the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra project will be awarded in early 2017.

“In the meantime, we are well underway with preconstruction and have identified early works activities which can start before awarding the major construction contract for the project.”

The project scope includes:

  • upgrading motorway from four to six lanes,
  • seven new bridges and major culverts, including higher bridges at Oxley Creek to improve flood immunity,
  • new southern service road connection from Rocklea industrial precinct to the Oxley commercial and retail areas, and
  • new traffic signals at the Suscatand Street intersection.

Expressions of interest close on June 17.


Melbourne Metro EES predicts short term pain for long term gain

The Victorian Government last week released the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the new Metro Tunnel, which shows construction will cause significant disruption over many years but will deliver decades of benefits.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan at the site of the new Domain Station, to release new station images and information that will go on public display as part of the EES.

The ESS also outlines the significant impacts on open space, roads and other transport, including temporary and permanent closures of some streets and occupation of public areas along the tunnel alignment. Some of these impacts will last 3-5 years during the construction phase.

The EES reveals concept designs, exact locations and depths for the five new underground stations that will be built as part of the Metro Tunnel Project, and how they will be built.

The new Domain Station will be built 15 metres below St Kilda Road using an advanced cut and cover approach. The station will include three entrances: one in the Shrine of Remembrance Reserve, one at the relocated Domain tram interchange, and another in the open space where the South African Soldiers Memorial is currently located.

The new Arden and Parkville Stations will be built using a similar ‘cut-and-cover’ method. The proposed entrance to Arden will be on Laurens Street with provision for a second entrance south of Arden Street.

Parkville Station will have two connections at Melbourne University, and a third serving the hospital precinct at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

The CBD stations next to Flinders Street and Melbourne Central will be built through a mined cavern approach, which will reduce impact on Swanston Street and the city. CBD South Station will include entrances in City Square, Federation Square and Flinders Lane, and a direct underground connection to Flinders Street Station. CBD North will connect directly to Melbourne Central, and have two proposed entrances on the corners of Franklin and La Trobe Streets.

The EES also proposes new tram connections on Toorak Road West, Park Street in South Melbourne and Flinders Street, which will allow trams to spread out across the city, to where they will be needed most in the future.

The EES can be viewed in full on the Metro Tunnel website.    


Roads and transport funding boosts in NT and Tasmanian budgets

The Northern Territory and Tasmanian governments handed down their budgets last week, announcing significant investments in road and transport infrastructure.

A total of $589.6 million is being invested in 2016-17 to deliver transport infrastructure for Territorians, while the Tasmanian State Budget includes funding for $1.8 billion in infrastructure projects, including an investment of $656 million in road and bridge improvements, funded jointly by the State and Federal governments.

The infrastructure spending highlights of the NT Budget include:

  • $495.9 million in Capital Works, including minor new works of $10.7 million for roads and $9.4 million for transport assets;
  • $10 million to continue the Regional Economic Infrastructure Fund Grants;
  • $81.5 million in repairs and maintenance; and
  • $2.25 million for infrastructure related expenses to plan for the future transport needs of Territorians.

The National Network Pavement Strengthening and Widening program is approved for funding of $47 million, with $6 million of program allocated in 2016‑17, which will fund pavement strengthening of the Stuart Highway at Coolalinga and pavement strengthening and widening of various sections of the Victoria Highway.

Meantime, funding in the Tasmanian Budget for road projects includes almost $200 million for the Midland Highway, $32 million for the Brooker Highway, $18 million for the Huon Highway/Summerleas Road, and $12 million for shoulder sealing on the Esk Main Road.

There is also $6.5 million to improve Colebrook Road between Cambridge and Richmond, and $6.3 million in funding towards infrastructure improvements for the Great Eastern Highway that will improve safety and enhance the visitor experience on what is one of our most popular tourist routes. 

For more information, go to the Tasmanian Government Budget website


Views sought on options to improve the heavy vehicle charges methodology

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper outlining possible options to improve the current method of setting heavy vehicle charges.

The NTC has prepared the discussion paper in response to a request from the Transport and Infrastructure Council for it to investigate and report back to it with options to advance the methodology to better balance heavy vehicle charges and government revenues.

NTC Chief Executive, Paul Retter, has encouraged governments, the heavy vehicle industry and all other interested parties to consider the merits of each of the options contained in the discussion paper.

“The nine options identified in the discussion paper seek to resolve some of the limitations of the current ‘pay as you go’ (PAYGO) system for heavy vehicle charges,” Mr Retter said.

“We welcome stakeholders’ views on the options, their compatibility with each other and the criteria for each of them.”

The proposed options include:

  • changing the methodology used to calculate the heavy vehicle cost base,
  • ring-fencing of revenue from heavy vehicle charges, and
  • moving to independent price regulation.

The use of fuel-based road user charges (RUC) and annual vehicle registration charges to recover the identified costs from heavy vehicle operators will remain unchanged.

Mr Retter said the NTC would now consult with stakeholders on the proposed options. It is planned that the NTC will present its recommendations to Australia’s transport ministers in November this year for their consideration. A copy of the NTC’s discussion paper is available here and submissions can be lodged between now and Wednesday, 27 July 2016.


RA policy news  

CEO Industry Workshop

Australia’s top construction, engineering and road infrastructure owner and operator CEO’s met in Sydney this week to discuss key policy development areas for the sector.

In addition to an update from each jurisdiction, items discussed included improving road safety, the scope and opportunity associated with automated vehicles, impacts of technological change on existing transport systems and transport market reform. Each year, this unique group of industry and government agencies meet to progress the issues important to the community.  

Investigating the costs of tendering: Stage 1 complete

RA is currently working with MBA students from Ducere Business School, who this week delivered the first of two reports into the investigation of tendering costs in Australia.

During Stage 1, students completed a due diligence process and prepared a governance framework to implement during Stage 2 of the project. Risk evaluation, security measures, data management and stakeholder engagement processes are outlined in the report. Domestic challenges and international approaches to public infrastructure procurement obtained from literature research and industry interviews are included.

Stage 2 is due to for completion in November 2016.  

Harmonisation of pavement marking in Australia

The Road Agency Pavement Marking Group, with support from RA and the Roadmarking Industry Association of Australia, has submitted a project proposal to Austroads requesting to harmonise pavement markings nationally, and to deliver a national performance specification for pavement markings.

The proposal investigates longitudinal and transverse line types and widths, and other pavement markings used by different State and Territory road agencies across Australia, and includes New Zealand.

This proposal responds to a strong desire by road agencies and the roads sector generally, to standardise pavement markings arrangements where practicable across Australia. The result aims to strengthen this important traffic control device as a key element of the safe system infrastructure.  

Help shape the future with automated vehicles

The National Transport Commission has published a paper discussing potential options to address the 716 potential regulatory barriers and issues to increased vehicle automation on the national road and rail network.

RA encourages members to offer feedback by making a submission before Monday 4 July 2016. After stakeholder feedback has been considered, the NTC is scheduled to submit policy recommendations to the Transport and Infrastructure Council in November 2016.


2016 RA National Roads Summit and John Shaw Dinner set new benchmarks

The Roads Australia National Roads Summit and John Shaw Award Dinner has come and gone for 2016, confirming yet again that it is the industry's premier networking and knowledge-sharing event.This year 250 industry leaders turned out for the Summit in Sydney, while a record 550 gathered at the Sydney Town Hall for the John Shaw Award Dinner.

Summit speakers including Federal Major Projects Minister, Paul Fletcher; former state premiers Nick Greiner and Peter Beattie; international C-ITS expert, Dr Peter Sweatman; California Transportation Commissioner, Jim Madaffer; and road agency leaders Peter Duncan, Stephen Troughton, Peter Todd and Miles Vass provided their expert views on everything from autonomous vehicles and road usage charging to road safety and procurement.

Industry legend, Gordon Ralph, was honoured as the 2016 John Shaw Medallist in recognition of his almost four decades of contribution, including key roles in the delivery of some of Australia’s largest road projects, most notably EastLink, Airport Link and the Eastern Distributor.

Roads Australia Chief Executive, Ian Webb, said the success of the 2016 Summit and Dinner again owed much to the support of RA members and sponsors.

"The tremendous support we receive for this event underlines the collegiate nature of our industry and the importance members place on sharing ideas and learning from each other," Ian said this week. "I especially want to thank our Gold sponsors - the Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels (ACRS), Advisian, Arcadis Australia Pacific, Opus International Consultants, SMEC Australia - our Silver sponsors - Altus Traffic and D'artagnan Consulting - and our John Shaw Dinner sponsor - Arup.

"We couldn't have done it without them."

Ian was himself recognised at this year's event, with RA President David Stuart-Watt bestowing life membership on him.


Leaders share their lessons with RA Fellows in Canberra  

Industry leadership through effective government relations was top of the agenda when 20 Roads Australia Fellows gathered in Canberra last month for their half-yearly workshop.

The workshop program included a briefing and roundtable discussions with the Transport Economic Reform team from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD). This expert panel was chaired by RA Mentor and John Shaw Medalist, Lauchlan MacIntosh AM, and included panellists David Whitrow, former chief of staff to the Deputy Prime Minister; Peter Greenwood,  a Canberra lobbyist with GRA Cosway and former Chief of Staff to Victorian Transport Minister, Hon Terry Mulder; and RA President, David Stuart-Watt. 

Mike Mrdak, Secretary of DIRD, joined the Fellows for lunch to speak about his career and thoughts on effective leadership.

Thanks are owed to our Fellowship sponsor, the John Holland Group, and particularly Industry General Manager - Transport Infrastructure John Holland, Peter Trueman, who also attended the workshop.  

The RA Fellowship is a mentorship program for the industry’s future leaders (RA Fellows) first introduced in 2015. Each year 15-20 fellows are nominated by RA’s member companies to undertake the one year program. Mentors have been drawn from the industry’s highest level, including current road agency CEOs, CEOs of our major companies, and senior parliamentarians.

In addition to the individual mentoring aspect of the program, Fellows meet as a whole group three times during the year-long Program with a focus on three key themes: personal development; organisational leadership; and industry leadership.   

The industry’s response to the Fellowship Program has been extraordinary.  Nominations for the 2017 Fellowship Program will be called for in July.  Keep an eye out in The Insider for details.  

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