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Pacific Highway: Warrell Creek To Nambucca Heads section.

New South Wales, Australia

  • 351


  • 20


  • 2014
    – 2018

    Project term

  • 15


Ferrovial Construction Australia was awarded with a contract for the upgrade of a 20 km section of the Pacific Highway between Warrell Creek and Nambucca Heads, in New south Wales, Australia.

The Pacific Highway is a heavily-transited route along the eastern seaboard of Australia, linking Sydney, its largest city, to Brisbane, the third-largest. The highway is being upgraded and expanded as part of the Federal and State Government’s plan to complete this link to a four lane divided highway.

More than 15,000 motorists travel on the Warrell Creek to Nambucca section of the Pacific Highway every day. The upgrade of this heavily-travelled section is being co-financed by the Australian and New South Wales governments. The project includes the design and construction of the 19.5 km section, including new bridges over the Nambucca river at Macksville and Warrell Creek, and two new grade separated interchanges.

A key element and challenging piece of engineering successfully delivered by the team project was the bridge over the Nambucca river. Stretching 850m in length and with 21 spans, the bridge was built using 42m U-Girders cast in a precast facility purposely built as part of the project. The U-Girders built are the first of their kind to be implemented on an Australian Pacific Highway project.

The project has been constructed utilising more than 80% of a local workforce of members from Macksville, the Nambucca Valley and its surrounding suburbs.

With an excellent safety performance from the outset, the project reached more than 2,5m hours worked without a Lost Time Incident in 2016, setting a new record within the Pacific Highway projects.

The project has also been recognised in 2017 as an ABA100 Winner of the Australian Business Award (5 Awards) Business Innovation and Sustainability.

A Sustainability Project: P47, Dust Suppression

The Warrel Creek to Nambucca Heads project requires environmental best practice in terms of erosion and sediment control during the construction phase to comply with environmental protection standards. To achieve this, large amounts of geotextile and similar products are required to provide temporary stabilization and protection from erosion during construction. And what does that mean? High cost of the project, associated to the purchase of geotextiles, installation, etc.

To avoid this additional cost, other alternative methods for providing temporary stabilisation without the problems associated to geotextiles have been considered, and in this respect P47 Soil Binder Polymer has been selected as the most cost-effective alternative to such geotextiles.

Use of this binder has resulted in smaller amounts of geotextiles being required for the project, in addition to the costs of subsequent disposal. All in all, it’s a very cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of temporary stabilization.

Protection of Native Fauna (Giant Barred Frog)

A Frog-Friendly Treatment (Giant Barred Frog EPBC Listed) was developed following an Unexpected Find at Butchers Creek Five Cell Reinforced Concrete Box Culvert.

The Unexpected Find of Giant Barred Frog Tadpoles (EPBC Protected Fauna Specie) at Butchers Creek occurred post RCBC Line Design finalization, as well as after the commencement of construction works.

The Environment team ensured the protection of native fauna through the use of an innovative and sustainable approach that is appropriate as a long-term solution.

Following the discovery, provision of a “frog-friendly” treatment to each invert of the five-cell box culverts was developed. Roads and Maritime coordinated a functional re-design with the contractor, Pacifico, using cobble stones salvaged from the culvert excavation that emulated the natural creek bed either side of the culvert.

Without compromising the drainage design, this method would encourage dispersal and passage of adult frogs and tadpoles by facilitating a more natural deposition of sediment and detritus during flood flows. In the floor of each culvert cell, cobble stones were set into a bed of wet concrete and dressed similarly to the pebble-crete finish of a concrete drive way.

Environmental Benefits

  • Savings in terms of a redesign of the culvert to a plank bridge and removal of the constructed component of the RCBC Line.
  • Saving in terms of program delays due to redesign.
  • Best practice with fauna management.
  • Stakeholder satisfaction: implementing such system increases the client and stakeholder satisfaction by demonstrating that the contractor is always looking for improved performance.
P47 Dust Suppression (PDF 790 KB) download link Protection of Native Fauna (Giant Barred Frog) (PDF 225 KB) download link

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