RMG was engaged by Regional Roads Victoria to project manage the delivery of a large program of safety barrier works along the Midland Highway as part of the Safer Roads program alongside Bild Infrastructure Pty Ltd (formerly Bitu-mill).
The Midland Highway safety problem was identified due to a number of key issues:
- It is an important regional road serving as a key freight route for agricultural industries and commuters between Shepparton and Benalla
- The posted speed limit on Midland Highway within the project boundaries is 100km/h
- There are numerous exposed hazards on Midland Highway
- Existing roadside hazards remain unshielded and exposed to road users including power poles, trees, drains and embankments and oncoming traffic
- Collision with a roadside hazard at high speed will result in serious casualties on Midland Highway
- Serious casualties have an unacceptable human and financial cost
Due to these key issues, the project was designed to protect against errant vehicles running off the road to the left or crossing the road into on-coming traffic.
This was achieved by the installation of continuous left-hand side and centreline barriers for the length of the project excluding intersections, property access and breaks in the barrier to allow access for emergency services at strategic locations.
A challenge for the project was treating unsuitable soils that could have seen the road failure prematurely. This was overcome by liaising with variation technical and local experts on appropriate treatment types. We were able to develop an effective stabilisation treatment that was cost effective, provided a quality product and didn’t slow the progression of the project.
The Midland Hwy Shepparton project was successfully delivered on time and within budget.
The volume of existing high-quality vegetation expected to be removed during construction of the project presented real concern with Regional Roads Victoria and the local community. Following on from discussions with stakeholders about this concern, we reviewed the design drawings in detail and developed innovative design changes to reduce the construction footprint, manipulate the design to move around trees and reduce damage to the trees to improve the viability of the trees after works are complete.
These changes were able to reduce the large tree removal from 250 to just 1 and this tree was relocated to the Shepparton Council offset site to be used as habitat. This was well received by the local community and the community have begun to advocate for the project as an example of how roads should be designed to accommodate the environment. In addition to reducing our impact on the environment to construct the project, we have planted 400 eucalypts/wattles in an area within minimal tree cover to provide an avenue of passage for the local squirrel glider population.