30 January 2013 - Peninsula Link, opened last week in Melbourne, was the first road to be delivered in Australia under the availability PPP model, more commonly used for the delivery of social infrastructure.
Administered by the Linking Melbourne Authority, which engaged project company, SouthernWay, the freeway was designed and built by Abigroup, with an Aurecon-SKM joint venture providing the principal design services. Lend Lease’s Infrastructure Services business will operate and maintain the project over a 25 year period.
The 27 kilometre Peninsula Link is the Mornington Peninsula’s biggest infrastructure project and will complete a missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network. The project features nine grade separated interchanges connecting 11 existing roads including three freeway to freeway connections. The construction task involved 45 separate bridge structures, three million cubic metres of earthworks, 380,000 tonnes of asphalt and the planting of 1.5 million trees and plants. The project also included a 25 kilometre walking and cycling trail, which is the largest single addition to Melbourne’s shared use path network in recent years.
Design collaboration to meet the challenges
The Aurecon-SKM Joint Venture was structured to achieve the most efficient high performing team possible using the ‘best for project’ staff and processes each organisation had to offer, while providing an equitable share of revenue, profit and risk. A fully integrated Joint Venture was formed, with the team structured to achieve a mix of Aurecon and SKM staff throughout the different disciplines and at each technical and managerial level. Teams that were used to working with each other within their respective organisations were specifically broken up and mixed with those of the other organisation to break down company barriers and promote a feeling of belonging to the project team and not the parent organisation. This organisation structure was absolutely critical to the effectiveness of the Joint Venture.
Design management: a logistical challenge
The design of a road project as large as Peninsula Link was as much a logistical challenge as a technical one. This included developing in excess of 5000 construction drawings within a 12 month programme and to exacting quality standards. The project was broken down into design packages consisting of, for example, individual bridges, side roads, 5 kilometre sections of freeway and sections of drainage design. In total there were approximately 110 packages. The design team was split into delivery teams focussing on approximately seven design packages each. With the design progressing on multiple fronts simultaneously, one of the biggest challenges was ensuring that changes to one package were communicated to other teams impacted by this change. This created a significant time commitment resulting in discipline leaders spending as much time reviewing other disciplines’ work as their own (interdisciplinary checking).
In developing the design, a multitude of reviewers and stakeholders were required to approve or provide input into the design process. This involved six design review gates for each package prior to being issued for construction. There were over a dozen key stakeholders, reviewers and approvers involved in this process including the Independent Reviewer, LMA, VicRoads, the Proof Engineer, Abigroup, Conneq (now Lend Lease Infrastructure Services), the Operation and Maintenance Safety Auditor, Road Safety Auditor, three Councils, the water authority, several utility companies and bicycle groups. Achieving their sometimes conflicting requirements was a major challenge and this was achieved through a combined effort between Abigroup and the Aurecon – SKM Joint Venture.
Worksharing to deliver
Both Aurecon and SKM implement work-sharing on major projects to meet resourcing, cost optimisation and delivery deadlines.
The lower cost base presented obvious budget savings as well as offered the programme flexibility to deliver multiple design packages in parallel using external design resources was also a large benefit to the project.
Even with the combined resources of two major consultants it was a major challenge to provide the number of resources required to meet the delivery targets, with the design team peaking at well over 100 staff. To meet this challenge, the design and documentation of six bridges was carried out off-shore by Aurecon’s Pretoria and SKM’s Kuala Lumpar offices. In addition, design verification was provided by several design offices around Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa and other specialist input or resources were provided from almost all of Aurecon and SKM’s other major Australian offices.
Senior Communications Advisor, Aurecon
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M +61 402 334 332
Marketing and Communications Specialist, SKM
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Aurecon provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for government and private sector clients globally. With an office network extending across 25 countries, Aurecon has been involved in projects in more than 80 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and employs around 7 500 people across 11 industry groups:
• Data & telecommunications
• International development assistance
Please visit the Aurecon website for further information.
Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) is a leading projects firm, with global capability in strategic consulting, engineering and project delivery. It operates across Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, deploying some 7,500 people from more than 40 offices. Delivering a breadth of projects for clients across four markets:
• Buildings & Infrastructure
• Water & Environment
• Power & Energy
• Mining & Metals
Our people come from a diverse range of disciplines including engineers, planners, architects, economists, scientists, project managers, technicians and administrative staff.
We continually strive to help our people reach their full potential, engaging them in challenging and inspiring projects that shape industries and build nations.
Wholly employee-owned, SKM is an organisation with a proud safety and business ethics, along with a leading edge approach to delivering a sustainable future.
For further information, visit the SKM website.