Gateway Motorway (various)
A decade of developing the Gateway Motorway – one of Brisbane’s most critical transport links.
What began as an arterial road nearly 40 years ago is today a major motorway carrying more than 80,000 drivers a day.
The Gateway Motorway is a critical link between the Pacific and Bruce Highways in Queensland, allowing traffic and freight to safely bypass the Brisbane CBD for easier access between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
“SMEC is very proud to be a key partner for the design and delivery of most upgrades along this corridor over the last decade, from the Gateway Upgrade Project, Gateway Upgrade South and the recently completed Gateway Upgrade North,” says Trevor Sullivan, Infrastructure Director ANZ.
A service life of 300 years
In 2007, SMEC and its partners began working on the Gateway Upgrade Project, which included
- 30 new or widened bridges
- 12 km of upgraded motorway and 7 km of new motorway
- eight new or upgraded interchanges, including a new route to the Brisbane Airport
All the motorway upgrades had to be completed under live traffic. As Queensland’s largest design and construction project at the time, the 24km long road project made a massive contribution to easing congestion, smoothing freight efficiency through Brisbane and supporting Southeast Queensland’s rapidly growing population.
A signature element of the Gateway Upgrade Project is the second Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge, completed in 2010, which duplicates the original bridge built in 1986. Designed by SMEC and its partners, the new bridge achieved a 300-year design life, described as a ‘remarkable achievement’. The project set many new benchmarks which were recognised by 13 industry awards including the prestigious RW Hawken award from Engineers Australia.
Gateway Motorway (various)
“… The project has been delivered quickly and without major impacts. Queensland Motorways and their construction partners have maintained the existing network capacity throughout construction, rebuilding the Gateway Motorway day and night, to ensure that this vital artery continued to flow every day.”
Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland.
Building for the future
Several years later, the Gateway Motorway North section between Nudgee and Deagon was becoming heavily congested due to population growth in Southeast Queensland and expansion of the Australia TradeCoast. The Deagon section especially had a high accident record and a high number of merge and weave movements required.
With SMEC and partners as the project designers, the $1.143 billion Gateway Upgrade North meant widening the motorway from four lanes to six, building a new road overpass, constructing off-road cycle/pedestrian facilities and installing intelligent transport systems including variable speed limit signage, variable messaging signs, traffic monitoring cameras and ramp metering.
The project teams set and achieved ambitious sustainability targets, with the Deagon Deviation Interchange receiving a certified IS Design V1 – Excellent rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia. The project reduced its original footprint by approximately 37% in wetland areas and by 39% on private land, minimising its impact to local communities and the environment
Officially opened in March 2019, the newly widened Gateway Motorway North means faster and safer travel, as well as capacity to accommodate future traffic growth.