As one of the lead design firms, SMEC addressed complex challenges including meeting extremely tight deadlines, rebuilding the road during live traffic which involved over 35 major traffic switches, and identifying and rehabilitating abandoned coal mines situated under the road’s planned trajectory. Completing the upgrade has been compared to doing ‘a giant jigsaw puzzle’.
The biggest geotechnical challenge for SMEC was remediating three former coal mines under the Ipswich Motorway. The region has a long and proud history of coal mining, with some mines dating back to 1865. Each mine posed certain challenges: One was flooded with contaminated water while the other two contained large amounts of methane gas. SMEC and its partners successfully undertook what was the largest mine remediation program of its type in Australia.
Design was delivered ahead of time and under budget and included significant variations to the original project scope. The quality of work has been acknowledged with the project winning more than 20 industry awards for its outstanding safety performance, high quality workmanship, effective project management, innovative approach, and unique on-site culture.
It’s satisfying to look back and know that our teams delivered more than ‘just a road’. Beyond the asset, this project improved safety and quality of life for the surrounding communities by enabling more transport options for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, reducing congestion, providing safer motorways crossings, and increasing capacity for anticipated growth.