Creating and upgrading new water infrastructure is just as much about the community it serves as it is the infrastructure solution itself.
This crucial project was an upgrade to ensure safe and secure water supply for Carlton and Carlton North, Melbourne inner city areas, for future generations. Carlton is a suburb on the edge of the Melbourne central business district with a growing population of almost 19,000.
It was therefore important that the community was kept informed and involved to ensure the project’s timely success.
Close to 2.3 kilometres of new water main pipe was installed, replacing the existing pipe that was 140 years old and nearing the end of its service life.
Aurecon provided planning, design development, detailed design documentation, and technical support during construction. Aurecon also provided the geotechnical and contaminated soil testing services.
A long-term legacy has been left for communities, not only with a water main that will service suburbs for years to come, but also with restoration works that included new road surfacing, improved bicycle lanes, planting of 350 trees and installation of public drinking water stations.
The community and stakeholders were engaged early in the design process to incorporate their ideas into the design, and coordinate works to minimise disruptions during construction.
Greater Western Water initiated an engagement approach that was inclusive, developed early relationships with stakeholders, maintained these throughout the project, and used feedback to improve outcomes for successive stages of work.
Upon conclusion of the project, stakeholders and the Community Reference Group acknowledged that the project increased amenities within these inner-city communities.
There was a shop-front site office to base management activities throughout the project. This was located in Park Street in a row of local shops and provided a constant connection point for residents and all involved in the project.
By providing a platform for stakeholders to connect with the project at every stage of the works, the team enabled ‘all voices’ to be heard during the project.
The project had significant technical challenges that required careful planning to meet project objectives, such as the methodology to complete road crossings and the connection to the Melbourne Water M160 distribution main.
At three locations, trenchless tunnelled pipe jacking was used to reduce disruption while crossing two busy roads, and for the preservation of a significant community tree. During these works, the project maintained dual work fronts to shorten occupation times and inconvenience for residents.
The complex connection to Melbourne Water’s M160 distribution main was conducted under strict timeframes to lessen service interruption. Diligent planning and coordination of multiple stakeholders was necessary for the successful installation.
To minimise disruption to the area’s water supply during the shutdown of the M160 main to replace a section of main with the connection piece, close coordination with Melbourne Water operations personnel, Greater Western Water operations personnel and the project’s contractor was required. It was especially challenging to carry out the installation of the connection inside the tunnel carrying a high-pressure gas transmission main.
The M160 distribution main was successfully returned to operation within the scheduled shutdown period.
Technology enablement was critical for the shift to online interaction among the project team. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were communicated on site with regular site audits and check-ins. Remote methods, such as team meetings with handheld devices, were increasingly used during lockdown periods.
The provision of visual inspections of the site when working remotely helped Aurecon to quickly troubleshoot issues as they arose.
Site visits were reduced to a minimum and site safety walks for non-project team members were conducted remotely using online tools. This facilitated robust safety discussions and maintained the safety of those involved with the project.
The gentrified inner-city area of the project provided several significant challenges, specifically working within a restricted corridor surrounded by houses and incorporating a median strip which addressed the popularity of the road as a cycle route.
The ongoing collaborative engagement with landholders was one strategy employed to mitigate these challenges.
Aurecon was part of the stakeholder engagement process to accommodate the varying expectations and desired outcomes for the works. The investigation work enabled project planning to incorporate the viewpoints of stakeholders together with the project’s requirements.
A digital centralised stakeholder management platform was used to facilitate the logging and tracking of all community interactions and communications as more than 800 properties were connected to the project’s route. Data was collected and then used to identify trends and possible underlying issues before they arose.
Over the project’s duration, in excess of 1500 interactions were collected and catalogued in the digital tool. This enabled the project team to better understand the community, build relationships and create maximum impact with meaningful data.
M205 Carlton Water Main Renewal was an essential upgrade to help secure water supply for the communities in inner-city Melbourne, delivering value for water utility customers and enhancing the liveability of the area.
The project was awarded the 2021 AIPM Victorian Small Project Award for its delivery of major infrastructure and focus on improving relationships with customers, community and stakeholders.
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