In recent years, some fantastic projects in Australia have really been
‘pushing the boundaries’ of what would previously have been deemed possible. One
of those in particular is in Queensland - a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI)
Arup’s Andy Lewis said, “It's the first DDI that's being delivered in
Australia. It's under construction at the moment up on the Caloundra interchange
on the Bruce Highway.”
In a joint venture with Jacobs, Arup was appointed as designer for the Fulton
Hogan Seymour Whyte Joint Venture (FHSW JV) to construct the Bruce Highway
Upgrade – Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway.
Located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the project involves an upgrade of
the Bruce Highway to six lanes, including major upgrades to both interchanges
and the delivery of a service road for local traffic on the western side of the
highway between Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist Drive (Source:
This upgrade is among Queensland's highest priority road projects, and is
designed to meet the strategic transport needs of the Sunshine Coast region in
this area well into the future. The upgrade will deliver critical safety
benefits to motorists, improve efficiency and reduce traffic congestion, and
ensure the Highway can cater for future traffic growth. The speed limit on the
upgraded Highway will be returned to 110km/hr, and immunity will be provided
from a 1-in-100 year flood event (Source: Arup website).
The importance of the project, and the resultant public interest, meant all
teams involved faced challenges when planning their approach - especially when
it came to delivering it as efficiently as possible. It was necessary to ‘think
outside the box’.
Said Mr Lewis, “The whole project for the Bruce Highway upgrade was done in 3D,
and that's not just the civil works, the highways and the earth works, but all
of the structures as well. We managed to produce a fully coordinated BIM model
of the project, which we then published into our visualisation platforms for
media and public consultation exercises.”
The team also used virtual reality for drive-throughs of their design, and took
the models that were developed and published them through AR applications. They
delivered a driving simulation product through which they were able to produce a
physical ‘drive’ which could be used on site on the project. They also had a
number of other outputs including online media to allow the public to navigate
and review the project.
Arup had been using these tools on a number of projects in the past, and their
work on the DDI was a progression and a development of those skills - they learn
a great deal on every new project, and are very quick to share with their teams
worldwide the skills they hone. It’s part of their strategy to share their
digital engineering experiences across the Arup globe, to facilitate a finely
tuned skills set for the best possible outcomes.
One of Arup’s other innovations for the DDI project was a simulator, used mostly
by their engineers to review designs. They are looking to develop this further
in the road safety audit space, to add in tools and functions to allow the
auditors to assess the model, ensuring it is compliant with the codes.
Digital Engineering continues to expand into new areas. Mr Lewis stated, “It's
forever evolving. There are new opportunities, technology is ever-changing, and
we need to keep pace with what's happening in the industry and find new
opportunities to engage with our clients to help us deliver our projects
Another exciting development in recent months for Arup has been that their
clients are becoming increasingly accepting of the new technology Arup is
offering - they’re noticing a steep change where clients are far more receptive
to new ways of engaging with, commenting on, and reviewing projects. Mr Lewis
said, “It’s very encouraging. We hope that continues because we can see there
are significant efficiency benefits in moving away from the old drawing plan
production. Slowly, we are seeing recognition that investing early helps deliver
better quality models. We are seeing some encouraging signs that clients are
warming to that sort of approach - that they will see the benefits later on
during the construction, and obviously when they take over the project and need
to maintain it. So we’re finally in a place where people are able to not only
see the benefits of digital engineering and BIM for down the track, they are
willing to invest upfront in those future benefits.”
Prior to that, Arup had been prepared to cover these costs and ’put in the hard
yards’ to prove to the client that they will benefit downstream. Arup’s firm
belief has always been that they have to keep challenging conventional methods
of delivery, looking for improvements. Mr Lewis said, “We need to do things
smarter - that's part of our culture and we encourage all of our staff and
people to look for those opportunities, and we will fund and support them in
For the Bruce Highway project in particular, the FHSW JV
developed this innovative design solution, to transforms the Caloundra Road
interchange into a DDI - a unique design for reducing traffic congestion and
improving safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It also uses a smaller
footprint than traditional interchange designs.
The project involves the following components:
Sunshine Motorway Interchange
New northbound loop connecting the Sunshine Motorway to the Bruce Highway.
An upgraded northbound ramp from the Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Motorway,
and an upgraded southbound ramp from the Sunshine Motorway to the Bruce
Construction of new bridges for the highway over the Sunshine Motorway.
New signalised intersection at the Sunshine Motorway interchange as a
secondary access to the western service road for northbound highway traffic.
Caloundra Road Interchange
Transformed into a Diverging Diamond Interchange.
Direct link to the western service road for traffic travelling north from
Brisbane to the Aussie World precinct.
New bridge over the highway with 6.5m high vehicle clearance.
New signalised intersection with the western service road.
New off-road shared cyclist and pedestrian paths across the interchange,
including signalised crossings and underpasses at the southbound Bruce
Highway access ramps to and from Caloundra Road.
Western Service Road between Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist Drive
Extension of Frizzo Road to connect to Steve Irwin Way in the south and
Tanawha Tourist Drive in the north.
Access to the Aussie World precinct off Frizzo Road, access to Glenview
Road, Martin Road, Sippy Creek Road, Cunning Road and Wilson Road. The
western service road will also provide access to Pignata Road, Laxton Road
and Greenhaven Drive via an upgrade of the Pignata Road underpass, including
new traffic signals.
Access to Aussie World precinct via a revised southbound highway exit ramp
to Pignata Road.
Removal of the Frizzo Road northbound entry and exit ramps to the Bruce
New shared path for cyclists and pedestrians along the entire length of the
road, joining to existing pathways at Steve Irwin Way and Tanawha Tourist
(Source: Arup website)
Arup’s very innovative approach to this project and others will enable them to
keep pushing the boundaries further and further in coming years. The use of 12d
Model software has been a constant in their processes for many years, and they
have no plans to change that. Mr Lewis stated, “The partnership with 12d has
grown over the years - we’ve very much appreciated the support that we've been
given and we've had a number of instances on major projects where the expertise
of the 12d Model developers was crucial - they spent time with us to help us
develop the tools so that we could deliver those projects. I don't think we
would have been able to deliver these without that overarching support from 12d
Solutions. There's got to be a partnership between the people that are actually
delivering the projects and those developing them, so that we can get our needs
included in the tool set. Otherwise, it’s hard to move forward.”
Dr Lee Gregory, CEO of 12d Solutions, responded to this, saying, “On our side,
as a developer, we don't build projects, so it's really this feedback as we work
with people doing projects that feeds into our product. It’s a great two-way
street, and we all benefit from it.”
These open approaches where all parties can see innovation develop, and see
smarter ways of delivering projects, is well facilitated by BIM and Digital
Engineering. Said Dr Gregory, “It’s bringing back together all these different
groups who previously were separated. We are all now talking to each other, be
it architects, utility services, drainage engineers, etc. - often people we
never even had on the one project. Digital Engineering/BIM has brought together
lots of groups that never spoke much before, and it’s to everyone’s benefit.”
Mr Lewis responded, stating, “Yes, with Digital Engineering, the whole principle
of it is collaboration. We are seeing all the disparate teams now are making the
effort to share and collaborate in real time, but also with some processing
control in around the information that we're producing. So yes, it's making a
steep change to the market, and in particular to the Arup business - for this
DDI project and beyond.”
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