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    Full steam ahead for rail project

    Thiess Environmental Services

    ORK has begun on the Caboolture to Beerburrum rail duplication project, following the official Project approval of the Target Cost Estimate by the Queensland Government’s Cabinet Budget Review Committee (CBRC) in April 2007. The project is due for completion by March 2009 and involves a 13.3 km track duplication, construction of four rail bridges, one new road-over-rail bridge and upgrades to both Elimbah and Beerburrum stations. The two new architecturally designed stations will be signature upgrades to the upgraded rail line, incorporating disability access requirements, new walkways, lifts, footbridges and shelter awnings. The project is being delivered by the TrackStar Alliance, a long-term infrastructure delivery business harnessing the experience and skills of QR, Thiess , United Group, Maunsell and Connell Wagner.

    Early works are now making visible progress, and include a completed track slew to redirect trains from the new designated corridor. Major earthworks, drainage and bridge structures, tree clearing activities and associated environmental control measures are also underway. From the outset, the Caboolture to Beerburrum project has demonstrated a Best Value approach to project delivery. The team has challenged the original proposal they were given and looked at how to go about things beyond best practice. Faced with an initial estimated $270 million project cost from QR, TrackStar challenged this option and delivered an alternative proposal with a reduced Target Cost Estimate of $220 million. This cost estimate incorporates vast improvements in whole-of-life costs (including ongoing maintenance work), safety during and after construction, quality of the end product and the legacy remaining. The $220 milion estimate also includes $14.6 million of additional value for added scope, including provision for the future construction of a fourth track.

    Sharing solutions

    From the initial design phase of the project to the construction phase, the project team has looked at ways to go about things differently. The collaborative alliance approach means designers and constructors are involved from the start, with peer reviews and challenge teams providing a rigorous review process. The benefits can be seen through the way the team has explored new construction options, challenged the rail alignment, managed community impacts in the townships and implemented new ways to protect the environment. Safety implications encouraged the design team to look at different options for the new rail alignment. By moving the new line to the east of the existing track, versus the western side proposed in the initial concept, construction is now transformed into a green-field site environment. Dual bi-directional tracks will be constructed away from the operating line, making the worksite safer and reducing disruption for commuters.

    Collaboration has also seen the Teeroff beam introduced for the 120m-long rail bridge in Beerburrum instead of the traditional QR bridge beams. “The introduction of the Teeroff beam technology is the perfect example of how the alliance partners share innovative design solutions,” says Caboolture to Beerburrum Engineer Simon Roast. “This influence came about from one of our alliance partner’s experience on Victoria’s Regional Fast Rail project. This is the first time this type of bridge beam has been used on a rail bridge in Queensland. The beam’s characteristic V-shaped girders can span 30 meters and they have eliminated the need for one pier structure on the Beerburrum Creek bridge, saving us time and construction costs.”

    Managing the sheer volume of earth moved from the corridor was also a major consideration influencing the project’s design and construction plan. The solution was balancing the cut to fill ratio so the project has avoided material double-handling and additional disposal and material import costs. Moving this soil could have had serious impacts on the local community, with increased traffic of up to 200 truck movements per day on local roads. To mitigate this, TrackStar trucks use a pre-existing access route under the Beerburrum rail bridge, allowing the trucks to move the soil to the designated area, minimising double-handling, dirt on local roads and disruption to the local community.

    Animal relocation

    Environmental considerations have been introduced to guide all of TrackStar’s construction activities. As a result of this, TrackStar has engaged Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Warriors to coordinate the project’s “Spotter and Catcher” animal and habitat relocation activities. Before any tree clearing work can take place, the Wildlife Warriors walk the corridor and identify potential habitats of local wildlife. Relocation methods have demonstrated innovative thinking and in some instances tree cutting plant has been used to remove sections containing hollows and then moving them to neighbouring properties.

    The team is working closely with the local community with some residents offering for these hollows to be moved onto their property to create safe-havens for animals moved from the rail corridor. The Caboolture to Beerburrum project is part of the Queensland Government’s South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan, a 20-year program of projects to cater for the needs of the growing Queensland population. The Caboolture to Beerburrum project will pave the way for the Beerburrum to Landsborough rail duplication and will form the foundations for the CAMCOS and NAMCOS rail connections over the next 20 years. TrackStar Alliance is delivering an initial four projects. With three Target Cost Estimates (TCEs) now finalised and two projects mobilised out to site, TrackStar is also working on an additional three planning studies, including the Beerwah Rail Crossing Options Elimination study, partnering with Main Roads.

    Source: Construction Contractor

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