West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP)

The West Gate Tunnel Project will deliver a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge, providing a second river crossing, quicker and safer journeys, and remove thousands of trucks from residential streets.

The West Gate Freeway is being widened and will include express lanes between the M80 and the West Gate Bridge.

Our Role in the Project

The WGTP is a mega project with complex interface to V/Line through design and delivery of V/Line assets, relocation of V/Line services, complex occupations regime, integration of delivery program and need to maintain operations. Our nominated T&S team members held a variety of senior roles (see listed below) within the project.

  • The V/Line Interface Lead role on the project involved overall responsibility for the interface, including leading all Accredited Rail Transport Operator (ARTO) related activities, such as management of change (MOC), accreditation, occupation and planning management, ARTO training, risk management and incorporation into V/Line Corporate risk register, acceptance and handover, commercial amendments to assets / operations / infrastructure lease including Operating and Maintenance Cost Estimating (OPEX), Works Readiness and Operational Readiness management, etc. The role covered management of requirements, testing & commissioning, staff, governance & reporting, and project controls. Work also included negotiating Interface agreement and developing regime on access arrangements, and proactively managing key stakeholders in consultation sessions.
  • Technical Interface Manager role, where our key T&S member was responsible for design and engineering management with associated standard waivers, refinement to improve design solution, construction methodology, staging, constructability assessments and analysis on operational impacts for railway, interface & integration, assurance, verification works and operational / maintenance (whole-of-life assessment) analysis of construction versus operational impact confirmation.

Our Role in the Project

The project and scope had significant complexities, being one the largest infrastructure projects that intersect the existing road and train network in the inner core of Melbourne, and therefore required an innovative approach to construction methodology, to minimise disruption and cost. The WGTP alignment runs over a significant amount of rail lines, as well as impacts on access to the largest train maintenance facilities and depots for V/Line. Many piers for the roadway therefore had to be constructed between operational railway tracks and beams to be lifted over the tracks. This included construction of Pier 19, which is the central pier connecting several pivotal bridges and an elevated road intersection directly above key V/Line Up and Down Engine tracks. Initial construction sequencing and staging / methodology meant large windows of occupation that would impact V/Line’s ability to conduct train maintenance, provisioning and stabling. A considerable amount of work and innovative thinking was required to de-conflict the construction from the operational railway as much as possible. This included developing innovative solutions such as:

  • Construction Staging — staging to reduce operational impact, implementing single line working (see above) etc. Due to the finite resource pool available for suitably qualified Pilots, Signallers and Representative of the Safeworking Managers, shifts were restricted to 10-hours to ensure that there would be no shift changeover during the period of Single Line Working. Detailed planning resulted in successful implementation of single line working and Safety plan.
  • Constructability Assessments — as the WGTP conducted construction activities in a heavy Brownfields rail environment, both in proximity of operating rail as well as in vicinity of live railway assets such as signalling, track and power, a large portion of construction planning involved constructability assessments. Our T&S representatives were integrally involved with the construction teams to develop and assess different approaches and methodologies to minimise impacts.
  • Site Planning Management — site planning of E-gate and F-gate relocation works was pivotal in allowing the footprint for the WGTP to be constructed. Our T&S representatives were integrated with the construction and planning teams to plan work sequencing and site plans needed for each stage, as well as what works needed to be carried out to free up the footprint. This involved both technical site planning, as well as negotiations with blue collar staff under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), as part of site planning meant that staffing and maintenance facilities needed to be relocated in a safe manner, whilst not obstructing operations.
  • Construction Verification — as a significant portion of construction works were undertaken on V/Line lease under V/Line accreditation, our V/Line interface Lead developed a construction verification and Quality Assurance (QA) process, in which the Construction Joint Venture had to work in with V/Line to verify all work plans via a Site Access Permit underpinned by Safe Working Method Statements (SWMS), approved crane lifting plans, engineering certification of all hardstands for the cranes, approval of vehicle movement plans, approval of confirmed and correlated underground railway assets for excavation activities, construction works verification onsite with Inspection Test Plans and other QA documentation.
  • Plant Modification / Engineering — plant modifications and engineering to crane further away from railway to reduce impacts, and lifting methodology of beams over operating railway in expedited manner with specifically designed hardstands across rail that still allowed rail traffic outside lifting windows
  • Temporary Works — the project developed more efficient temp works designs, including form works for the piers in close proximity to the railway tracks, on how these would be constructed faster as well as how to minimise operational impact with temp works construction (reduce foot print and still provide the load capacity), pier pours (which side to come in from), stitching and headstock placements. To enable the single line working (described above), Temporary signal boxes were established at both signal MYD262 & MYD582. These signal boxes were equipped with the necessary amenities as a standalone facility to ensure correct signalling function was able to be fulfilled. Our technical interface manager was pivotal in these works.

Our Approach to Teamwork, Cooperation, and Innovation

T&S members are embedded in this multi-billion-dollar Design and Construction project. We have been able to build a strong relationship with the State government of Victoria, Transurban, the contractor and the various other stakeholders.

Our approach was to provide highly competent and proven infrastructure specialists that understand the complexities of these major projects and focused on working inclusively, open and transparent. Our representatives were regularly acknowledged for their ability to manage tough and difficult situations, but through leadership, technical understanding and diplomacy was able to find the right outcome for all parties. 

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