Civil infrastructure forms an integral part of our community, and it involves the design, construction and maintenance of developments and structures to help people in their daily lives. This article will examine the types of civil infrastructure people will interact with, the types of projects covered, and where you can find businesses to help with a civil infrastructure construction project.
What is Civil Infrastructure?
Civil infrastructure includes works for road, rail and marine projects, bridges and tunnels, dams, reservoirs and pipelines for water management, drainage and sewer systems, sub divisions, foundations and buildings that are not part of a commercial or residential building endeavour. Governments usually finance these projects, and the resulting asset is most often used by the public. The projects built under the flag of civil infrastructure are designed to create an inclusive society and aim to improve our lives.
At NVC Precast, we’ve had the privilege of working with many companies involved in civil infrastructure projects. We operate in Victoria and Southern New South Wales and can deliver precast concrete elements suited for many projects. We’ve been involved with constructing bridges (or replacing old bridges) to enable access or improve safety or commute times for local communities. You can contact our team for a list of projects we’ve been involved in or to talk to our team about your next project.
What type of projects are included with civil infrastructure?
Many people interact with completed civil infrastructure projects each day. These projects include the roads we drive on, public airports, car parking structures and many more. In this section, we’ll detail several large civil infrastructure projects to provide a clear picture of the type and style of projects covered. These projects use a mix of bridges and tunnels when completed and most are constructed in stages to limit their impact on the surrounding areas.
Melbourne Level Crossing Removal – VIC
The Melbourne Level Crossing Removal project is designed to eliminate dangerous level crossings in Melbourne (and in some regional centres). The entire cost for the project is $8.5 billion and is expected to be completed by 2025. Removing these crossings will alleviate motorists’ travel concerns and allow more trains to run on the network.
The Melbourne Level Crossing Removal program is incorporating an innovative U-trough design for the elevated rail way. NVC Precast have been instrumental in the precasting of the first L-beam segments, that are ‘stitched’ together to form a U shaped channel that the trains travel in. The L-beams are approximately 2m wide by 3m high and range in length from 24-32m. Moving these colossal beams, weighing over 130tonnes each, takes considerable coordination between the site and transport crews.
Melbourne Airport Rail Link – VIC
After years of discussion (since 1980), the Melbourne Airport Rail is starting to take shape. After this project is completed, airport passengers can take a train from Melbourne City Stations to Tullamarine Airport in under thirty minutes. The approximate cost for this project is $5 billion and will start construction in 2022, with a completed date of 2029.
Bruce Highway Upgrade Program – QLD
The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program aims to fix many Queensland drivers’ safety concerns. The Bruce Highway stretches from Brisbane to Cairns, and the project is the largest in Queensland, costing around $8.5 billion. The project started in 2013 and is expected to be completed in 2028.
WestConnex – NSW
At a cost of $16 billion, the WestConnex road infrastructure project is the largest in Australia. The project is due for completion in 2023 and provides 33km of traffic-light-free roads for NSW residents, reducing road congestion. As some of the projects involves underground interchanges and tunnels, it also provides an additional 10 hectares of regional parks.
Melbourne Metro Tunnel – VIC
The Melbourne Metro Tunnel is aimed at allowing more trains to pass through Melbourne City. When the tunnel is completed in 2025, it will include five new stations and support over half a million new passengers each week. This project will cost $11 billion.
Sydney Metro – NSW
The Sydney Metro project consists of three separate rail projects (Northwest, Southwest, and Metro City), costing $12 billion. The Sydney Metro Northwest project was completed in 2019 and is due for an extension that will be completed by 2024. The Sydney Metro and Southwest projects will open in 2024 and consists of 11 upgraded stations and seven new stations.
West Gate Tunnel – VIC
The West Gate Tunnel is designed to free up congestion on the West Gate Bridge. As Melbourne has expanded further into its western suburbs, the West Gate Bridge is struggling to support the amount of traffic. The West Gate Tunnel will add a new route for commuters and transport trucks. The total cost of this project is expected to be $6.8 billion.
Cross River Rail – QLD
The Cross River Rail project will alleviate bottlenecks in the Queensland rail network. This project comprises over 10km of new rail lines and twin tunnels under the Brisbane River. The cost of this project is $5.4 billion.
Western Sydney Airport – NSW
Many people living in Sydney will tell you that the current airports are very congested. The Western Sydney Airport has been marked for development for almost 30 years. This new airport is due to open in 2026 and has a cost of $5.3 billion.
Private vs Public Construction
New civil infrastructure projects are often created to complement existing projects, and they’ll help reduce some of the problems that current infrastructure encounters. While most civil infrastructure projects are completed using government funding, some will work with private companies in a partnership or handle the entire project.
When a private company is engaged to complete a civil project, it may recoup the costs in various ways. Some companies may lease the completed project to the government for an agreed term, and others may use a toll system (e.g., Transurban CityLink in Melbourne). Although tolls can be inconvenient for some commuters, they help to ease the burden on government funds and is only a cost to people who choose to use the network.
How to choose a civil infrastructure contractor?
When a civil infrastructure project assigns a project manager, they’ll need to secure contractors to complete the works. These contractors must work together or complete work in stages to ensure the project is completed on time and within budgetary constraints. As most civil infrastructure projects are funded by the government, making sure that the project will benefit the constituents is vital. Disgruntled voters may choose to change who is government before the project is completed, which can alter the project’s scope, making it challenging to complete.
The contractors required will depend on where it is being built, when it needs to be completed, and what type of project is completed. Many civil infrastructure projects use the AustRoads prequalification system to specify the technical competencies and financial capacity that companies need to demonstrate in order to deliver the civil projects. The prequalification scheme is managed by the Road Authorities at the state level, being the Department of Transport in Victoria, and Roads and Maritime Services in New South Wales. The prequalification classes cover criteria for road and bridge construction and also specialist categories such as precast concrete, traffic management and geotechnical engineering.
At NVC Precast, we have many years of experience working with civil infrastructure projects. We understand the need to deliver a high-quality product on time and within the budget required. We can manufacture many prestressed and precast concrete products in our facilities suitable for bridges and other construction projects. You can call our team if you have a civil infrastructure project requiring precast concrete beams and other precast concrete products.
Also read our article about concrete contractors.