SA Govt abandons GlobeLink following release of business case

The South Australian Government says it will investigate several alternate road connectivity options after announcing this week it would not proceed with the controversial GlobeLink freight corridor project.

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Queensland eyes largest-ever road roll-out in 2020

The Queensland Government says 2020 will mark the start of the State’s biggest-ever road upgrade program. Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says shovels will hit the ground on major projects along the length of the Bruce Highway, as well as on billions of dollars’ worth of upgrades for the M1, Capricorn Highway, Ipswich Motorway and Smithfield Bypass.

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Clough has appointed John Galvin as its new Executive Vice President Australia and Asia Pacific. John joined Clough in 2018, bringing with him over 30 years’ experience in consulting, manufacturing and construction. He is passionate about safety, people development and diversity in the construction industry.

Kate Drews has been promoted to lead SMEC’s Urban Communities business in Australia following the retirement of Michael Jones. Kate joined SMEC in 2018 as National Manager, Urban Renewal, and has more than 25 years of industry experience, including several senior leadership roles. She was recently appointed a Director on the Board of Consult Australia.

SLR Consulting has appointed Beccy Philby as its Asia Pacific Operations Manager – Land and Water. Based in SLR’s Brisbane office, Beccy will be responsible for guiding the Hydrology and Hydrogeology, Land Quality and Remediation, Soil Sciences and Toxicology and Risk Assessment teams. Beccy is an experienced operations leader and business developer with more than 15 years’ experience working in consulting environments in both the UK and Australia.

The NSW Government has established an expert panel to identify up to 15,000 kilometres of council-managed roads in rural and regional areas to hand back to the State, easing the burden on ratepayers. NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole announced last week that former NRMA President Wendy Machin would chair the panel, supported by five other members with broad expertise across roads, transport, engineering and local government, including RA CEO Michael Kilgariff and former RMS head and RA Board member, Peter Duncan.

Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton has formally resigned from his position to take up a broader role within the union movement. He will continue to act as CEO during the recruitment process for his successor


Nominations are now being accepted for this year’s John Shaw Medal – the Australian road industry’s highest accolade for an individual. Criteria and a nomination form are available on the RA website, and nominations close on 31 March.

The imbroglio over the reported presence of contaminated soil on Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel construction project escalated this week. On Wednesday, Transurban advised the ASX it had received from the CPB Contractors John Holland (CPBJH) Joint Venture a notice to terminate the D&C sub-contract on the basis of a Force Majeure Termination Event, arising from issues ‘…in respect of the presence, classification and disposal of per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) within the project site’. In its ASX statement, Transurban said it had advised CPBJH that it ‘…does not consider the D&C sub-contract has been validly terminated and, as such, the contract remains valid’. It noted that despite the purported termination, CPBJH had stated its intention to continue works on site.

Construction has begun on the $118 million High Street and Stirling Highway intersection upgrade in Fremantle. The joint Australian and WA government project will address congestion problems and dramatically improve safety along a 1.5km section of High Street, between Carrington Street and the Stirling Highway. Construction and design works are being undertaken by RA member Georgiou.

In the NT, Seafarms’ Project Sea Dragon has commenced construction at the Bynoe Harbour Core Breeding Centre, with earthworks and bitumen being laid for access roads, along with outlet ponds and fencing. Some $200 million worth of contracts are anticipated to be released by Seafarms this year through the Territory Government’s Industry Capability Network (NTICN) project gateway. Project Sea Dragon is a $1.45 billion prawn aquaculture project that will ultimately see the development of up to 10,000 hectares of ponds for black tiger prawn production. To date, the Territory Government has invested over $56 million in roads to support the massive job-creating project.

In Melbourne, a two-week construction blitz to remove three dangerous and congested level crossings, build a new Carrum Station and provide another connection to the Nepean Highway will kick off this weekend. Closing crossings at Eel Race Road in Carrum and Mascot Avenue in Bonbeach will be the first step in the two-week blitz, with a new direct connection from McLeod Road to the Nepean Highway to open on Monday 10 February.

Meantime,an alliance comprising Laing O’Rourke, Jacobs and Metro Trains Melbourne has this month been awarded a $496 million contract to remove the level crossings at Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale. The crossings will be replaced by rail bridges, which the Government says will slash travel times, improve connectivity across all modes of transport and improve safety and livability.

Still on the subject of level crossings, Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan says the dangerous and congested Toorak Road level crossing will be gone for good more than six months ahead of schedule, with traffic set to flow freely and trains traveling over the new rail bridge in April.

An innovative project to tackle urban heat is underway in Adelaide’s Central Market District. The Cool Road Adelaide project will test how three heat reflective treatments applied to a 100-metre part of Bowen Street West work to reduce heat absorption, cool the area and create a more livable city. Made possible with in-kind support from Fulton Hogan, the project will be completed at the end of summer and the results shared with local councils.

Work has started on an innovative smart traffic monitoring and signalling system in central Launceston. The $6.8 million system utilises live streaming to monitor traffic flows in real-time and synchronise traffic signals. The roll-out of the project is being hailed as a direct outcome of the 2017 Launceston City Deal struck by the Commonwealth, State and Launceston City governments, with Tasmanian Minister for State Growth Michael Ferguson describing it as ‘…exactly the type of project the City Deal was intended to deliver’.

The WA Government has announced a $7.6 million boost to walking and cycling paths, which will add more than 50 kilometres to the WA Bicycle Network (WABN) over the next two years. As part of the annual WABN grants scheme, the State Government matches funding with local governments that have successfully applied for funding.

The Board of Directors of RA member Salini Impregilo has approved ‘WeBuild’ as the new name for the Group. The proposal now goes to shareholders for final approval. Salini is a major player in the global construction sector, operating in over 50 countries including Australia.

Restoration work commenced this month on one of the country’s oldest sandstone bridges – the Lansdowne Bridge in Sydney’s south-west. Transport for NSW Sydney Maintenance Director David Fishburn says the 33-metre arch was built by convicts in the 1830s and boasts the largest span of any surviving masonry bridge in Australia. The heritage-listed bridge carries eastbound traffic from the Hume Highway across Prospect Creek and has been an historic part of Sydney’s road network for more than 180 years. It’s been 50 years since the bridge underwent a major restoration.

Transport innovation

The SA Government and City of Adelaide have expanded the footprint of their successful e-scooter trial beyond the CBD to North Adelaide, and extended the trial to 31 October. Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll says South Australians and visitors have embraced e-scooters, which also provide a great first and last mile option for people wanting to get around the city. Some 300,000 trips have been taken since the trial commenced last year. Meantime, a 12-month e-scooter trial has also been launched in Darwin, with up to 250 scooters to be rolled out across the city.

In the UK, Highways England and its partners are joining forces to create automated vehicles to lay cones on the country’s motorways and major A roads, preventing workers having to lift an average 10 tonnes of equipment per shift. Two automated cone laying vehicles are currently being developed, with testing due to get underway next month. All things being equal, Highways England says the new machines could be in use by the end of 2020.

In the US, researchers at MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) are working on a new model that uses satellite imagery to tag road features in digital maps to help improve GPS navigation. Showing drivers more details about their routes can help them navigate in unfamiliar locations. Lane counts, for instance, can enable a GPS system to warn drivers of diverging or merging lanes; incorporating information about parking spots can help drivers plan ahead; and mapping bicycle lanes can help cyclists negotiate busy city streets. Providing updated information on road conditions can also improve planning for disaster relief.

Diversity and social responsibility

Something of a diversity milestone reached last month, with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) announcing that the percentage of women on ASX 200 boards had reached 30 per cent for the first time. In April 2015, when women made up 20 per cent of ASX 200 boards, the AICD set a voluntary target for 30 per cent of board seats to be filled by women by the end of 2018. 30% Club Australia Chair Nicola Wakefield Evans said while the milestone was significant, ‘…. it’s important to remember that 30 per cent is the floor, not the ceiling.’

Upcoming RA events

Feb 6 – By invitation. RA Board Dinner for David Stuart-Watt, Sydney.
Feb 12 – Industry lunch with WA Director-General Transport, Richard Sellers, Perth. Proudly sponsored by Gamuda.
Feb 25 – By invitation. Single table lunch with Transport for NSW Program Director – Development Paul McCormick, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Advisian.
Feb 26 – By invitation. Single table lunch with Regional Rail Revival Director Mark Havryluk,Melbourne. Proudly sponsored by Arcadis.
Feb 28 – Industry lunch with MRPV CEO Allen Garner, Melbourne. Proudly sponsored by Arcadis.
Mar 4 – Industry lunch – 2020 Transport Oration with Transurban CEO Scott Charlton, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Arup.
Mar 6 – Industry lunch with TMR Director-General Neil Scales, Brisbane. Proudly sponsored by Aurecon.
Mar 11Young Professionals event, Brisbane. Proudly sponsored by Arup.
Mar 18Young Professionals breakfast, Melbourne. Proudly sponsored by Arup.
Mar 20 – Industry lunch with DPTI Chief Executive Tony Braxton-Smith, Adelaide.
May 14-15 – RA Transport Summit, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by Cardno, Altus Traffic and SMEC.
May 14John Shaw Award Dinner, Sydney. Proudly sponsored by WSP.

Upcoming industry events

Mar 3 – CPEE AustPADS Mechanistic Pavement Design Workshop, Melbourne.
May 19 – CPEE AustPADS Mechanistic Pavement Design Workshop, Brisbane.
June 4 – CPEE AustPADS Mechanistic Pavement Design Workshop, Sydney.
Sept 1 – CPEE AustPADS Mechanistic Pavement Design Workshop, Perth.