Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra Stage 1

Aerial photo of development site of the Ipswich Motorway upgrade

As a key member of the Design Joint Venture, Cardno is helping to improve traffic conditions along the Ipswich Motorway from Rocklea to Darra using innovative design systems to minimise the impact on, and deliver key benefits to, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra - Stage 1 project (R2D) is jointly funded by the Queensland State Government and the Australian Government. It is a $400 million upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway relating to a 3km-section of the six-lane motorway that crosses Oxley Creek and other Brisbane River tributaries, and includes dedicated cycleway facilities. 

The project aims to improve safety, reduce congestion for motorists in western Brisbane, and enhance cyclist and pedestrian facilities. It is being delivered using a Design and Construct (D&C) collaborative project agreement.  

Cardno was engaged as part of an integrated Design Joint Venture (DJV) with BG&E for the delivery of the detailed design for this project. The DJV forms part of a collaborative project contract with the Construction Joint Venture (CJV), comprising members of Bielby, JF Hull Holdings and Albem Operations, and the client, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

Due to the complexity of the project, every decision made had a far-reaching impact so a collaborative approach to the design was critical. From the tender process through to detailed design, the DJV and the CJV were co-located in an R2D project office where weekly collaboration meetings with the client and the CJV facilitated a successful design outcome.  

Aerial 3d visualisation of Ipswich Motorway upgrade

The project was the first D&C motorway project in Queensland, and one of the first in Australia, to use a fully integrated Building Information Modelling (BIM) process during the detailed design stage. This process significantly changed the typical workflow and deliverables for a major road infrastructure project and allowed the design team to produce a 3D design model, in addition to the traditional 2D drawings.  

The BIM process also enabled continuous model development throughout the design process, allowing engineers to view the model in a user-friendly way to review and certify the design. Contractors build from the model provided, rather than reproducing it themselves. As a result, all design coordination issues were eliminated as automated conflict checks were carried out prior to issuing the model. 

The DJV has provided training and advice to the client and other stakeholders on how they can best use, interrogate and review the model. Every item design of the final model can have unique data attributed to and stored against it, which will become a data rich and highly valuable whole-of-life asset for the client.  

The team faced a number of project design challenges and worked collaboratively with key stakeholders to resolve them.

They included:  

  • Providing for safe pedestrian and cyclist passage through a heavily developed industrial area. Working with TMR’s and local council’s cycle groups and local council asset owners, the DJV created a bespoke design solution for a vital new cycle link in a safe and cost-effective way. 
  • Minimising impacts on traffic during construction, which required some modifications such as a staged approach to bridge construction, minimising civil alignment to avoid temporary pavements, working with the client and local councils to close motorway ramps at times, and creating construction solutions for large walls alongside traffic.  
  • Overcoming and working through eight extended design domain issues by providing unique, site-appropriate and cost-effective solutions.