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Roads Australia Insider - May 21, 2018


M1 set for $897 million injection in Queensland Budget

Next month’s Queensland State Budget will deliver $897 million for M1 upgrades between Varsity Lakes and Tugun and between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill.

Making the announcement over the weekend, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government would invest $487.5 million, half of the total cost, between 2018 and 2022, ensuring work could start as soon as possible.

Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the Government was finalising the planning to ensure the timely delivery of the next stages of the upgrade, between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill and between Varsity Lakes and Tugun.

“As part of the M1 Action Plan, the Queensland Government has also funded construction of the Exit 57 interchange upgrade at Oxenford, with works planned to start in 2019," he said.

“Planning is also progressing for the upgrades to interchanges at Yatala North, Yatala South, Ormeau and Pimpama, as well as preserving the future Coomera Connector corridor for the rapidly growing northern Gold Coast area.”

The Queensland Budget will be delivered on 12 June, with the Government promising a $45 billion infrastructure spend over the coming four years.

The Premier's weekend M1 announcement follows a $1 billion commitment from the Federal Government announced in April.

Rozelle Interchange shortlist announced

Construction of the M4-M5 Link, the most important stage of WestConnex is moving ahead, with applicants shortlisted to build the WestConnex Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link.

Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres, announced last week the JCL Joint Venture (John Holland/CPB Contractors/Lendlease) and SCS Joint Venture (Salini Impregilo/ Clough Projects/Samsung C&T) had been shortlisted for the next stage of the bidding process.

“The M4-M5 Link is the most critical section of WestConnex and will for the first time link the New M4 and New M5 motorways, providing seamless underground travel for tens of thousands of vehicles every day,” Mr Ayres said.

“The Stage 3A mainline tunnels will run for 7.5 kilometres between Haberfield and the New M5 in St Peters, with four lanes of traffic in each direction, connecting to the Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link (Stage 3B).”

The Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link will provide a new underground motorway interchange to City West Link and underground bypass of Victoria Road between Iron Cove Bridge and Anzac Bridge, with links to the future Western Harbour Tunnel.

Bidders will now develop, refine and optimise solutions for the design and construction of the Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link, using a Collaborative Contractor Client model led by Roads and Maritime Services, allow the Government and industry to work together to knowledge share and leverage the opportunities of the project.

Construction of the M4-M5 Link tunnels is expected to start later this year and open to traffic in late-2022, with the Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link operational about 12 months later.

The next stage of WestConnex, the New M4 twin tunnels between Homebush and Haberfield, is set to open in the first half of next year, with the New M5 tunnels to open in 2020.


WA Budget delivers big for METRONET

The WA Budget has delivered the State’s largest ever investment in rail, as well as $3.2 billion for road infrastructure and maintenance initiatives.

Handed down on May 10, the State Budget invests $3.6 billion in METRONET projects, including the Forrestfield-Airport Link. The breakdown includes:

  • $536 million to extend the Thornlie Line to Cockburn Station on the Mandurah Line, including two new stations at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road.

  • $420 million to extend the northern suburbs rail line to Yanchep, including three stations at Yanchep, Eglinton and Alkimos, as well as bus interchanges and park and ride facilities. The WA Planning Commission will spend a further $100 million.

  • $515 million in 2018-19 for the Forrestfield-Airport Link project, some of which will be allocated towards building a turn back facility at Claremont and upgrading Bayswater Station.

More than $50 million is allocated to continue planning work on other key METRONET projects, including the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, Byford Rail Extension, Midland Station Project and new Karnup Station.

The Government has secured additional Federal Government funding for key projects, with $750 million allocated across the forward estimates for projects under development, including $21 million of State Government funding.

A range of major regional and metropolitan road projects, committed to during the election and as part of reallocated Perth Freight Link funding will either continue or kick-off construction this financial year.

New projects include a $15 million widening upgrade of Mitchell Freeway northbound between Hutton Street and Cedric Street, which is now the fifth project set to get underway as part of Perth's freeway transformation.

The Government is allocating a total of $125 million on the extension of Stephenson Avenue between Scarborough Beach Road and the Mitchell Freeway, with $65 million of this funded by the Commonwealth.

Other projects that have either started recently or about to start construction include:

  • $145 million for the duplication of Armadale Road between Anstey Road and Tapper Road;
  • $86 million for the provision of a bridge at the intersection of Roe Highway and Kalamunda Road;
  • $40 million for widening the southbound lanes of Mitchell Freeway between Cedric and Vincent streets;
  • $115 million for bridges at the intersection of Wanneroo Road and Ocean Reef Road, and Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive;
  • $70 million for the duplication of Reid Highway between Altone Road and West Swan Road. 

The investment in regional roads includes $70 million to deliver upgrades on roads where there is a high risk of run off road accidents, and funding for 18 major projects, including:

  • $347 million for a range of upgrades on the Great Northern Highway from Muchea to Wubin;
  • $65.7 million to complete the construction of the remaining 90 kilometres of unsealed sections of the Broome-Cape Leveque Road;
  • $30 million for upgrades to the South Coast Highway between Albany and Jerramungup;
  • $50 million for Stage 3 of the Karratha-Tom Price Road improvement project;
  • $35 million to progress planning for Stages 2 and 3 of the Albany Ring Road;
  • $17 million to continue upgrades to Great Eastern Highway on priority sections identified in the Wheatbelt Safety Review; and
  • $20 million to widen a 58-kilometre section of Indian Ocean Drive to allow a greater centre separation between traffic and reduce the risk of off-path and head-on crashes. 

The WA Government will also invest $93.8 million over the forward estimates period - $75 million of this being Commonwealth funds - to commence the northern and southern sections of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road. This will improve road freight access to the Port of Bunbury, reduce congestion and improve safety for all traffic.

Significant funding has been allocated to safety related road programs and projects, including $53 million from the Road Trauma Trust Account, while the Government says road maintenance expenditure continues to increase, with the road maintenance budget totalling $1.8 billion between 2018-19 and 2021-22 - $438 million more than the four years up to and including 2016-17.

Public infrastructure investment wave close to peak, says forecaster

Recent infrastructure-heavy State and Federal budgets will not prevent a peaking in the public investment cycle over 2018/19, according to the latest forecast from BIS Oxford Economics.

Released last week, Engineering Construction in Australia 2018 – 2032, predicts total measured work done in Australia’s largest building and construction sub-sector is on track to rise 10 per cent to $96 billion in 2017/18 – thanks to both surging public infrastructure investment and a renewed burst of LNG activity.

“Publicly-funded engineering construction rose 12 per cent (+$4.5 billion) in calendar 2017 and over 2018/19 activity will be 40 per cent higher than the trough in 2014/15,” said Adrian Hart, Associate Director of Construction, Maintenance and Mining at BIS Oxford Economics.

“Driven by a range of new projects across transport as well as the rollout of the NBN, higher public infrastructure investment has helped offset the drag from the bust in resources investment – and has been a key driver of growth and employment in the national economy.

“The problem is, even accounting for the 2018-19 Federal Budget, we are fast approaching the crest of the public investment ‘wave’ – meaning the Australian economy will require new drivers to support growth in employment and incomes into the future.”

According to the BIS Oxford Economics report, measured engineering construction activity will fall back sharply in 2018/19 as publicly-funded works peak and privately- funded works slump in line with contracting oil and gas activity. However, Hart cautions against calling this a bust in the engineering construction market.

“An $18 billion crunch in measured oil and gas construction is the main reason behind the fall in activity in 2018/19 – and most of this represents imported LNG modules with little impact on the local construction industry,” said Hart.

“Excluding oil and gas construction, the engineering construction market will be sustained at a high level in historical terms.

“Over the next five years, non-oil and gas engineering construction will average $71 billion per annum – higher than any period outside of the mining boom and around double that of the pre-boom period.

“In other words, we are moving from a wave to a higher tide of engineering construction activity.”



NTC seeks feedback on a safety assurance system for automated vehicles

Australia’s approach to a safety assurance system for automated vehicles is the subject of a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) which opened for public consultation last week.

According to National Transport Commission (NTC) Chief Executive, Paul Retter, Australia’s existing laws and regulations do not recognise automated vehicles. The Consultation RIS seeks feedback on what role Australian governments will play in assuring the safety of automated driving systems, and what form a safety assurance system would take.

“We have produced the Consultation RIS to gather feedback on the four safety assurance options identified: no change to existing laws, and three options with various choices of safety assurance systems – administrative, legislative, and legislative with a primary safety duty of care on the entity responsible for the automated driving system,” Mr Retter said.

This follows a request by transport ministers across Australia for the NTC to assess the costs and benefits of a mandatory self-certification safety assurance system for automated vehicles.

Self-certification by entities bringing automated driving systems to the Australian market was chosen as the preferred safety assurance approach of government and industry, following on from consultation by the NTC in 2017.

The Consultation RIS has proposed 11 safety criteria that responsible entities would need to self-certify against, which include aspects of safety system design, compliance with road traffic laws, the ability for systems to be upgraded, mandated testing in Australia, and cyber security, to name a few.

“Governments around the world are grappling with regulatory frameworks for automated vehicles, and we aim to ensure Australia’s safety assurance systems are best practice,” Mr Retter said.

The NTC has distributed information on the Consultation RIS to automated vehicle manufacturers internationally as well as across all state and territory governments, the Commonwealth and local industry stakeholders.

Submissions for the Consultation RIS can be made online on the NTC website  until Monday 9 July 2018.

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