Recovery and Reconnection
Situated in the northeast corner of Australia, Queensland is known as the Sunshine State by its 4.7 million citizens. In the summers of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, Queensland was hit by cyclones and significant flooding, with roads across most of the state receiving more damage than any other state asset. The Fitzroy Region, in Central Queensland, was one of the most heavily impacted regions in the state, with nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 mi) of the 3,500-kilometer state-controlled road network requiring reconstruction. Following the 2010 floods, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) engaged MWH to work with it to reconnect the region, a role that was expanded after the 2011 and 2012 flood events. The program in Fitzroy for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 flood events was valued at $891 million (AUD) when completed in June 2014.
As one of the 12 regional program offices within the state-wide Transport Network Reconstruction Program (TNRP), the Fitzroy Region was one of the largest, covering an area approximately twice the size of Tasmania, Australia’s island state. At the peak of construction, Fitzroy had more than 50 live work sites on major and secondary highways at one time. The program was implemented in two phases. The first phase recovery work was focused on reconnecting communities isolated by flood damage, where deliveries of food and supplies to area stores and communities were impossible by road, and essential local industries like beef production were severely impacted. Once the roads were repaired enough to reconnect communities, work then focused on the reconstruction of the flood damaged roads.
Using a new and highly collaborative approach to the recovery phase, MWH and TMR worked together to establish a two-stage design process, which provided contractors with early design plans for earthworks, drainage and pavements, essentially expediting the development phase so the region’s transport network reconstruction could be implemented sooner.
Reconstruction of the damaged roads involved numerous contractors and suppliers. Despite the speed of reconstruction, the program achieved an impressive safety record with not a single lost time injury during the last 11 months of the reconstruction. Numerous safety and traffic strategies were implemented during the program in a constant effort to continue improving standards. The team gave priority to advising the general public and stakeholder groups on these strategies and on overall progress during reconstruction through a well-directed community outreach effort.
More than 300 environmental audits ensured the region’s delicate natural environment, including cultural heritage areas, was protected.
Through rigorous and ongoing internal and external evaluation, the collaborative approach between TMR and MWH demonstrated transparency and accountability for the government and the public. Ultimately, it provided value for the money contributed from state and federal funding.
The Fitzroy Region reconstruction program was successfully completed both in advance of the deadline and under budget. It was recently recognized with a Highly Commended award in the collaboration category from Consult Australia.