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R2D 6

Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra – Stage 1 – Project Wrap-Up

From April 2017 to April 2021, the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra Stage 1 played a central role in the lives of motorists, residents and businesses as works to upgrade the highway and create a more efficient and safer road network were undertaken.

For several members of the Bielby Team, the project has been a significant part of their working lives as they worked collaboratively with our team, stakeholders and partners to deliver a world-class infrastructure solution for one of the State’s busiest arterials.

Following project completion, we caught up with three key team members and asked them to share their experiences delivering a $400 million project comprising 3km of highway upgrades and seven new bridges across a flood-plain.

Andrew Howgate – Project Director

What did you enjoy most about the project?

The project has been twenty per cent of my career.

Looking back at the challenge of the complexity of raising and lowering the busy motorway while contending with safety, environmental, community and design issues, not to mention the day to day challenge of managing people, gives a great sense of accomplishment.

The job also had several firsts for me, an archaeological find in timber bridges, a collaborative contract as project manager, incorporation of numerous new computer-based company systems and tools and every conceivable Public Utility Plant challenge.

What was the project’s biggest challenge?

Managing an ever-changing throng of people; people coming, people going, people getting promoted, people having good times and bad, all of which are a natural part of a multi-year major project.

What about the completion of the project makes you most proud?

The project has no outstanding disputes or issues. The knowledge I was part of a team including the client, designers, contractors, subcontractors, and the community who have left an infrastructure legacy and strong relationships are something we should all be proud of.

How does it feel to have delivered a major piece of infrastructure for Queensland?

I always look forward to telling my kids I was part of building this.  They’re indifferent now, but one day I’m sure they’ll tell the “grandkids”.

What is the next project you will be helping Bielby to deliver?

I’m helping deliver numerous recent project wins as Project Director.  Watland Street to Sports Drive, Cooroy to Curra D1, and Northern Transitway are all in my remit.

Kylie May – Stakeholder Engagement Manager

What did you enjoy most about the project?

I loved working with the team. We created an exceptional culture and a tight-knit, collaborative environment that enabled us to meet our targets, operate efficiently and deliver the project to the satisfaction of everyone involved. It was also fantastic to be able to work on-site.

What was the project’s biggest challenge?

Working within a live motorway whilst proactively engaging with stakeholders, particularly during changes to construction methodology from unpredictable circumstances such as weather and construction conditions.

What about the completion of the project makes you most proud?

It was a privilege to work with some engaging local stakeholders and to help address their needs and concerns as we delivered the project. I also appreciated the project’s size and scale, including the seven bridges, and was fortunate to have seen the pitching and piling process within a live motorway.

How does it feel to have delivered a major piece of infrastructure for Queensland?

I feel proud to be a part of such a successful upgrade, which has significant improvements for the area. I hope to be back there one day if the next stage comes to fruition!

What is the next project you will be helping Bielby to deliver?

I’ll be working to support the delivery of the Northern Transitway in Brisbane. The project will provide a high-quality public transport corridor and will see 2.3km of dedicated northbound and southbound bus lanes constructed between Kedron and Chermside along Gympie Road.

Kane Clarke – Project Manager

What did you enjoy most about the project?

The working culture for R2D was superior; everyone came to work with a great attitude.  The ability of the R2D team to work towards a common goal whilst still being able to have a laugh made for a well-organised and effective environment.

What was the project’s biggest challenge?

The motorway traffic switches were perhaps our biggest challenge. Due to the narrow road corridor, the project had over seven major stages.  The preparation works would start months in advance, with the team focused on achieving the switch dates.  Once that date arrived, the entire R2D team worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure the motorway was open for traffic.

What about the completion of the project makes you most proud?

I was one of the first guys on the ground in 2017, so to see the project evolving was extremely rewarding and satisfying. It was also great to see that everyone who worked on R2D were equally proud of our combined efforts.

How does it feel to have delivered a major piece of infrastructure for Queensland?

It gives me immense satisfaction to drive through this section of the motorway and know I had a hand in its creation.  It’s something we worked really hard to deliver and should be proud of!

What is the next project you will be helping Bielby to deliver?

Topping the fantastic work culture in this project is going to be hard to beat, but I’m hoping to transfer some of our great learnings from this project to the next. We are still wrapping up the final tasks for R2D, and post that, I will have a better idea of what comes next.

About the Project

The $400 million project was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments, each committing $200 million. The project covers a 3km section of the Ipswich Motorway between Granard Road, Rocklea to the east of Oxley Road, Oxley and included seven new bridges.

In April 2017, TMR appointed Bielby Hull Albem Joint Venture (BHA JV), a Queensland-owned joint venture, as the contractor for the upgrade.

Learn more about the project HERE

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