The Foxground and Berry Bypass provides a four-lane divided highway (two lanes in each direction) with median separation for 11.6 km of the Princes Highway between Toolijooa Road and Schofield Lane. The upgrade avoids the Foxground Bends and takes the heavy traffic out of the Berry township.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) appointed Fulton Hogan, supported by the WSP and SMEC Design Joint Venture (DJV) for the Design and Construct (D&C) project. In addition to tender and detailed design, WSP was separately engaged to provide the Biodiversity Offset Strategy.
Offsetting Impacts to Biodiversity
In consultation with the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Primary Industries, our specialist ecology team developed the Biodiversity Offset Strategy for the bypass project, which included:
- Assessing the vegetation impacts of the project
- Detailing available offset measures using the BioBanking Assessment Methodology
- Interpreting state and national policies for offset requirements
- Researching potential biodiversity offset sites
- Consulting extensively with government agencies to gain approval of potential offset properties
- Preparing the technical report for public exhibition and approvals
- Identifying a process for addressing offset measures arising from changes to impacts
- Outlining the options for securing and managing biodiversity offsets for perpetuity
Our team adopted a hierarchy of avoid, minimise and mitigate with offsetting used as a last resort to compensate for residual impacts. The offsets provided as an outcome were in addition to the avoidance approach followed in the design phase and the substantial mitigation measures described in the Flora and Fauna Management Plan, Ecological Monitoring Program and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Effective Solutions with Minimal Disruption
Our approach to design centered around reducing costs and simplifying construction methods with minimum disruption to traffic and the community. Working closely with the contractor in the development of the detailed design, the following relevant enhancements were made:
- Alignment adjustments to minimise earthworks and simplify traffic staging
- Increased value for money through consideration of whole of life costs, notably in maintenance access
- Reduced risk of over-break during blasting by designing earthworks benches to follow geology
- Rationalisation of signage, barriers and stormwater drainage
- Development of alternative water quality solutions to minimise sedimentation controls
- Simplified box girder bridge geometry
- Rationalisation of girder types and standardisation of headstock formwork geometry
- Improved design of retaining and noise walls
Anticipating Future Needs
Keeping a culture of innovation and value-adding front of mind, we extended the southern end of the project to eliminate safety issues and simplify future construction of the next section of highway. We also prepared a maintenance management strategy with an emphasis on access from local roads which helped improve safety during maintenance and elimination of a number of stopping bays.