Northshore Brisbane
Northshore Brisbane is continuing its transformation from an ageing industrial wharf into a vibrant mixed-use high-density community, characterised by a dynamic and activated streetscape.

The challenge

Over the next 20 years, the 304-hectare precinct will be home to 14,167 new residential dwellings and play a key role in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the site for the Brisbane Athletes Village.


Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) first engaged SMEC in December 2019 to oversee the provision of critical new infrastructure. Fast forward to 2022 and the construction of three new roads Cedar, Barcham and Karakul has opened new land for development and further private sector investment.


The project was delivered in difficult times for the construction industry, navigating the impacts of COVID 19, supply chain issues and rising construction costs. The team also managed over seven weeks of rain delays in 2022 which presented major challenges to the works program and budget.



The solution

SMEC provided engineering services for the design of the road and civil infrastructure network to facilitate the redevelopment. From the outset SMEC adopted a precinct-wide approach, that considered all stages of the project, yielding significant benefits for the developer, government, and community. Notable features of the project include:

  • The use of tunnel boring equipment for the construction of sewers, which eliminated the risk of sinkhole formation and ensured stable and sag free infrastructure.
  • The unique active transport layout enables safe transit across the precinct and facilitates the activation of the MacArthur Avenue and future mixed-use precinct for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Implementation of the sewerage tanking agreement enabled the precinct to become operational while working around a large obstruction.
  • One of the major concerns for the site was local flooding occurrences. SMEC’s stormwater system was rigorously tested during the major floods of 2022 and avoided any instances of flooding.
  • The team provided an electrical and lighting masterplan that includes planning for an electric vehicle charging station and Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS).
  • SMEC along with building contractor BMD devised an innovative solution to recycle concrete from major Brisbane buildings, to be used as the base for the road upgrades. The base for Cedar Road for example comes from concrete out of the Mater Hospital, stands from Ballymore and the Bulimba Barracks.

As part of the design, several unique ‘performance solutions’ were proposed and implemented. This unique design sets a new benchmark in streetscape configuration, that didn’t fit within existing standards, so Brisbane City Council became an integral stakeholder to ensure an iterative and collaborative culture was embedded into the decision making.


Collaboration between the design team, (Engineering, Traffic, Landscape Architecture), the client (EDQ), the building contractor and key stakeholders (Brisbane City Council, Energex, and QLD Urban Utilities) was key to the success of the project.  Overlapping disciplines and key areas of consideration included:

  • Civil engineering, as the principal consultant team delivering the design works and construction delivery
    • A new road network with generous footpaths and integrated active transport links
    • Flood resistant drainage, and utilities services
    • SMEC’s water team provided specialist advice on tunnel boring techniques.
  • Electrical and lighting masterplan, electrical design, telecommunications and NBN services.
  • SMEC’s structural, geotechnical, and coastal teams all provided advice to support the design and construction delivery of soil settlement matters across the site and a new revetment wall.
  • Detailed cost analysis of the sequence of works.

The impact

The completion of an $18 million package of new roads, cycle tracks, footpaths and other infrastructure is a crucial step in the transformation of Northshore from a former industrial port area into a vibrant mixed-use urban precinct.

The total site area for this phase of work spans 9.3ha. The construction of three new roads opens new land supply for development, attracting further private sector investment in the precinct.  Construction commenced in July 2021 and the industrial road east of MacArthur Avenue has been transformed into an urban boulevard framed with street trees, separated cycle tracks and wide footpaths that encourage activation along building frontages.

Over 600 metres of cycle tracks and just under two kilometres of footpaths will encourage and support active movement across Northshore. Stormwater and utilities upgrades and subtropical urban landscaping at the eastern end of Northshore have also been delivered. The new roads also provide more on-street carparking in the area.

By thinking ahead, the team preemptively mitigated future development issues. This approach enabled Queensland biotechnology company Vaxxas to occupy the adjacent lot which is set to open in 2023.  This demanded methodical coordination and open lines of communication to achieve a viable infrastructure solution in compressed timeframes.


Talk to one of our specialists about our role on the Northshore Brisbane project.