Toowoomba, AustraliaToowoomba Second Range Crossing
Where the road seems to split the mountain in two, hanging over the valley. Where the sun plays across the shadows of hundreds of beams and pillars. And where dust and asphalt go hand in hand for half of the year, making way for the torrential rains that swell the ocean in the other half.
There, 700 meters above sea level, lies Toowoomba. That’s where the 41 kilometers of the Toowoomba Bypass lay. This project was awarded to the temporary joint work done by Ferrovial and Acciona.
Over 3,500 kilometers, the Eastern Highlands lift Australia to touch the sky. The mountain range splits the country in two, which is why it is also known as the Great Dividing Range. Toowoomba sits on those slopes. It is the second-largest inland city in the country. The new ring road also runs through these mountains that surround the town from the north and west. More than 25,000 vehicles travel the 41,000 meters of two-lane road that cut through the mountain and run through the rest of Toowoomba’s infrastructure every day.
Seen from a distance, the road seems to hang from the top of the mountain. Built on a ditch 30 meters deep, the vehicles crossing it appear to float as if by magic, following a route where the laws of physics don’t work as usual. Some 10 million cubic meters of land were dug out of the great Australian mountain range to make room for the Bypass.
Beyond these cuts in the slopes, the rest of the ring is supported by concrete beams and columns. Spanning 24 bridges, the longest of which is 800 meters, the road bypasses natural and manmade obstacles, like the western train line, part of the city’s patrimony. This road tells another story of engineering and nature, an older story but one that is not so different.