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Nelson Bay Road Upgrade

Nelson Bay, Australia

In July 2013, Ferrovial Construction (Australia) was successful in winning the contract with the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to upgrade 4.2 km of Nelson Bay Road. The longest section of the upgrade added dual carriageways between Bobs Farm and Anna Bay. Also, it involved reconstructing the existing carriage way and constructing a second carriageway between Cromarty Lane, Bobs Farm and Port Stephens Drive roundabout, Anna Bay.

Nelson Bay Road is a State Road and the main arterial link connecting Newcastle to Williamtown and the Tomaree Peninsula. It carries a large volume of local and tourist traffic visiting the Nelson Bay area as the only route servicing the Tomaree Peninsula and the various townships between Newcastle and Nelson Bay.

The Main Project Features are:

  • Construction of a second carriage way between Cromarty Lane and Port Stephens Drive roundabout at Anna Bay
  • Reconstruction of the existing carriageway Landscaped median to separate opposing traffic
  • Ten upgraded bus bays
  • New u-turn facilities to provide safe access to properties along the route
  • Pedestrian refuges in the median adjacent to bus bays
  • Wider shoulders and improved intersections

All these features give many benefits to the surrounding communities, such as improving safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians; better bays for bus passengers; reduction in traffic delays and more reliable travel times for motorists using this section of Nelson Bay Road.

Construction Details

The Nelson Bay Road improvement works are located less than five kilometers from the dune system that form the Stockton Coastal Barrier and more than fifty kilometers away from more conventional building sources, such as quarries or authorized material banks.

Although Roads and Maritimes Services of NSW Government (RMS) has developed procedures to construct embankments with sand from the coastal dune, the placing of this material represents some difficulties such as moving on top of the surface with trucks.

To avoid risks and facilitate the works, these embankments require consolidated dock areas where the trucks can tilt up and then a dozer can push the sand forward. These dock areas need to be constructed every 100 m using certain unbound material from the quarry. The main method of compaction is by flooding with water. A geotextile in some situations can be needed to confine the sand regarding upper layers as the select material.

Environmental Protection Measures

The Port Stephens area has been identified as one of the richest koala sites in the State of New South Wales, and the Tilligerry Peninsula, which is adjacent. That’s why the project contains a prime habitat for this species, one of the state’s last viable populations.

Although many eucalyptus trees grow in Australia, only a few are suitable for koalas. Two examples of these are the Swamp Mahogany and Forest Red Gum. Koalas absorb most of the moisture that they need from eucalyptus leaves and therefore, rarely need to come down from the trees to drink.

Koalas are classified as a vulnerable and rare species, and local authorities have developed a Koala Management Plan to address some of the dangers they face. Being slow movers, some of the most pressing dangers to them include domestic dogs and speeding cars.

With that said, transversal connectivity through the new motorway for koalas and other species is provided by fauna underpasses and rope bridges. To assist in ensuring fauna to use the facilities, fexible end fencing will be installed along the project boundary.

We are also collaborating with the National Parks, who are happy with our environmental measures and monitoring of the fauna and flora. We are relocating more than 280 nests using wooden nest boxes. Aditionally, we are providing treatment along the alignment to eliminate harmful weeds such as the Chinese Violet and the Alligator weed, both class 1 harmful weeds. As a result of this good relationship, the National Parks are collecting all our mulch production from the clearing and grubbing for future reuse and recycling.

Project Completion

On May 18th, 2015, the Nelson Bay Road Upgrade Project, Ferrovial’s first project in Australia, was officially opened by The NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight – Hon. Duncan Gay and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast, Scott MacDonald.

The Project will also be remembered for winning the 2014 NSW Roads and Maritime Services Construction Quality Award in the Environmental Performance and Innovation Category.​

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