Mining Expansion Project - URS Australia (now AECOM)

ClientURSLocationAustralia, Qld
ConsultantURSContractorDarren McKimm

Plotting Tools

Project Summary

URS Australia was commissioned to carry out road design and realignments with a creek diversion to allow for the continuing expansion of an open cut mine. The section the project concentrated on was a 4km section of the open cut mining operation.

This project was designed to allow the progression of this section of the open cut mine high wall. The outcome of the works lessened the haul travel times for the removal of coal and spoil material.

A new heavy vehicle haul road was to be constructed north of the high wall with a creek diversion that re-routes an existing creek around the south of the high wall to allow for the high wall advance.

There were also minor road diversions, detours and new roads to construct as well as design of a spoil site for approximately 1.3 million cubic meters of material excavated for the creek diversion. The road works were designed to achieve a cut/fill balance.

The existing survey data was stored in a separate 12d Model project with models and tins shared to the design projects. This removed any issues of supplied data being altered or deleted as well as the having the latest survey being read by the design projects as they opened.

The Challenge

Parts of the new infrastructure either intersected, or passed over or under, meaning that the design of some roads was relying on geometry from adjacent or intersecting new and existing roads. In addition, the design of earth berm walls was dependent of vertical grades, proximity to intersections and clearance heights above existing roads.

A snapshot of the complete design:

  • 138 functions - consisting of Apply Manys, Contour creation, TIN re-triangulations, Removal of Strings, and recolouring of triangles for visualisation

  • 62 Super Alignment resolves. Some were re-run several times to allow, first horizontal computations and then later to get vertical geometry tie-ins from intersecting roads

  • 34 Longsection plot PPFs

  • 22 Cross section plot PPFs

  • 50 Setout Table recalculations

  • 73 Volume Calculation outputs

It would not be possible to run all these entities manually to update the design and expect all of the above to complete successfully.

The Solution

This is where the 'Chains' functionality in 12d Model software proved invaluable as a design tool.

Within all of the chains, the team was able to insert comments that headed sections of the chain for ease of reading and understanding, and notes on what was done at certain stages to alter computator reference points. This helped them remember what they had done some three months earlier, and also consider the work of other designers who had to alter/check design methodology at a later stage.

The project was split into discrete chains to run parts of the design, to reduce recalculation times. If road redesign was taking place, then just the road design chain was run, rather than all chains.

Chains in 12d Model made the design process both simple and complex:

  • The simplicity of pressing one button to carry out a hundred or more commands in seconds updating designs and outputs

  • The complexity of design interaction could be handled in a logical manner, giving the designer a flow process as well as a record of what the design elements are and how and where they fit together.

There were 11 chains in total that carried out the complete design operation. These discrete chains were:

  • Creek Design

  • Road Design

  • Central Earth Berms

  • Minor Access Roads

  • Grade Separated Overpass Design

  • Spoil Stockpile Design

  • Plotting

  • Setout

  • Contour Creation

  • Colouring of Triangles for Visualisation

  • Volumes

There was an overall design chain that ran all the chains above to carry out the complete design from start to finish. This took about 7.5 minutes running over the computer network. This was reduced to about 3.5 minutes if all data was stored on the workstation.

The team also created several other chained chains, including a chain that only ran the Creek design and then the Road design. These two designs crossed paths at the coal haul road realignment, so for every creek diversion alteration, the road design was required to rerun as the creek tin was part of the road design's existing surface tin, and vice versa for the creek design.

The Result

This process enabled the designer to run two interconnecting parts of the design only, without running plotting, setout and other design elements. The innovative use of 12d Model software on this project saved the team a huge amount of time, and simplified processes.

Download this Case Study as a PDF HERE