Head­way on free­way

EX­TEN­SION PROJECT NEARS COM­PLE­TION

North Coast Times - - FRONT PAGE - Laura Pond More, page 3

THE Mitchell Free­way ex­ten­sion is tak­ing shape as the $236.3 mil­lion project re­mains on track for com­ple­tion by the mid­dle of this year.

Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts said nu­mer­ous mile­stones were achieved dur­ing con­struc­tion last year, in­clud­ing mov­ing about 1.7 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of soil and rocks dur­ing earth­works, in­stalling 54 bridge beams for three new in­ter­changes and build­ing 3.5km of res­i­den­tial noise walls mostly along the western side of the ex­ten­sion.

“All 54 of the project’s bridge beams have used an in­no­va­tive mono­lithic de­sign to re­duce con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing sav­ings of 1300 tonnes of con­crete and 108 tonnes of steel re­in­force­ment,” he said.

“The bridge beams were in­stalled un­der strict rail shut­down pe­ri­ods and within tight work spa­ces.”

The de­sign of the fu­ture free­way in­ter­changes at Neer­abup and Burns Beach roads and Hester Av­enue in­cor­po­rate round­about-con­trolled on and off ramps rather than be­ing sig­nalised.

Other fea­tures in­clude us­ing open-grade as­phalt in the free­way road sur­face, which is es­ti­mated to re­duce the noise from tyres by a daily av­er­age of about 2.5 deci­bels when com­pared to dense-grade as­phalt.

Mr Roberts said sus­tain­abil­ity tri­als would hap­pen this year, such as the in­stal­la­tion of LED lights along the free­way.

“If the trial is suc­cess­ful, Main Roads will con­sider the op­tion of up­grad­ing the Main Roads net­work to LED light­ing, to re­duce long-term run­ning and main­te­nance costs,” he said.

A 15 per cent mix of re­cy­cled and crushed glass will go into the road sub-base along a 150m strip of Wan­neroo Road as an­other trial, to re­duce land­fill, the re­liance of vir­gin quarry sites for lime­stone and en­ergy in­volved in pro­duc­ing road build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

Mr Roberts said the reveg­e­ta­tion process would in­clude more than 300,000 na­tive plants and mulch re­cy­cled from cleared veg­e­ta­tion, about 90 per cent of the project waste was cur­rently re­cy­cled and eight fauna un­der­passes were be­ing cre­ated across the site.

“To mit­i­gate fauna im­pact, clear­ing works were sched­uled dur­ing win­ter, out­side the en­dan­gered black cock­a­toos’ nest­ing sea­son, and ex­ten­sive trap­ping to re­lo­cate na­tive species was un­der­taken prior to clear­ing,” he said.

“On the con­struc­tion front, pave­ment and asphalt­ing works are now well un­der way as the free­way open­ing draws near.

“Soon, fin­ish­ing works will also com­mence across the project area, such as sig­nage in­stal­la­tion, bar­rier con­struc­tion and prin­ci­pal shared path works.”

Asphalt­ing works along the Neer­abup Road ex­ten­sion.

Con­crete bar­rier con­struc­tion works along the Mitchell Free­way ex­ten­sion.

View of progress along the Mitchell Free­way ex­ten­sion from Neer­abup Road, look­ing north.

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