Arup is part of the SAFElink Alliance contracted to design and construct upgrades of motorways in Queensland, Australia. The firm is collaborating with Leighton, BMD Maunsell and the Department of Main Roads.
The Ipswich Motorway provides the principal connection between the cities of Brisbane and Ipswich. With traffic volumes increasing, a planning study of the motorway identified the need for an upgrade. The project includes the upgrade of 9km of these roads from four lanes to six.
The Alliance's work also includes a new interchange between the Centenary and Ipswich motorways, the biggest transport interchange ever to be built in Queensland. Roads will be separated at different heights to improve traffic flow, and designed to be resistant to traffic conditions up and downstream.
A full-time sustainability consultant has been appointed to work on the project. Extensive community consultation has resulted in features such as pedestrian access and cycling paths being woven into the design. Measures have been taken to preserve water quality, energy-efficient machinery is employed where appropriate and carbon offsets are being used to compensate for emissions from on-site vehicles.
The motorway and interchange upgrade will reduce congestion, improve vehicle travel times and provide better sightlines for drivers.
A youthful team
The SAFElink Alliance is a major project, with almost 9km of road to upgrade and widen, the state’s biggest transport interchange to design and build, one million cubic metres of earthworks to undertake and 400,000t of asphalt to lay.
Arup was committed to supplying 80% of design resources. The sheer scale of the works meant that up to 80 full-time staff were needed, with many to be based on site. Faced with a skills shortage in the industry, Arup was forced to think laterally to find the necessary staff.
The solution was to recruit a team of talented young graduates and offer them extensive training and mentoring to give them the skills and confidence required to work on a development of this scale. Team-building activities ensured that they would work well together.
Unusually for this type of project, the average age of the SAFElink team is just 24.
Not only will this project underline the benefit of a young, highly-trained workforce, but the team will also be armed with the knowledge and experience to move straight on to future projects.