The TSRC project teams worked collectively with Nexus through significant design challenges, including:
- Topography – the project’s eastern section traverses very steep ground, while the western section crosses undulating black-soil terrain. As a result, we designed significant bridge and retaining structures to enable the road to traverse the mountainous terrain and allow the road to climb the range.
- Geology and geotechnics – high embankments and cuttings were needed for the road structure as it climbs from the flat plainlands in the east over the Great Dividing Range to the west. The region is geologically complex and required innovative design solutions for all aspects including batter stability, mass haul and material selection.
- Environment – developed management, protection and relocation plans for a small legless lizard, the Collared Delma (Delma Torquata), listed as vulnerable and identified in the road corridor.
- Flooding – Developed complex hydraulic modelling and detailed drainage solutions to meet the challenge of the Toowoomba region’s major flooding events and steep terrain.
- Roads & pavements – Considered the road geometry and functionality to support its operation and manage interaction between long distance and local trips. Careful thought went into the materials available for pavement design and supporting the construction methodology.
The innovative design provides a striking gateway into the Toowoomba region. A key aspect included a cutting about 30 m deep atop the range to allow all heavy vehicles, including dangerous goods carriers and over-dimensional vehicles, to safely use the new road. The cutting included a viaduct 800 m long and 50 m high, built over the existing Queensland Rail line.
The official opening followed a weekend of community celebrations, including a vintage car rally, Ride the Range – a charity bike event, a community open day where people could walk the newly completed bypass section before it opened to traffic, and a running festival with a marathon on the near-perfect 41 km-long trail.
As part of yesterday’s opening, the family of the late Hong Zhu (WSP Geotechnical Engineer) attended the official ceremony. Hong worked as part of the design team until his battle with cancer ended in January 2016. Gerard adds, “It was lovely for Sonia and John to be able to witness the project’s opening and help honour Hong’s memory.
“Thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly to deliver this project which will transform the region and help the local community thrive.”
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