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WestConnex Pedestrian Access Goes Unhindered

WestConnex is a new motorway project that aims to reduce congestion for vehicles travelling to the CBD and the Port Botany precinct from the northwest and southwest of Sydney. The project encompasses several components – the New M5 motorway tunnel between Beverly Hills and St Peters, the widening of the M4 at the Parramatta end, and the plans to build the Sydney Gateway and the M4-M5 link, making the route somewhat of a semi-ring road.

One of the biggest elements of a project like this is the minimisation of disruption to commuters during works, whether they are in a motorised vehicle, and pushbike or on foot.

At Kingsgrove on the M5, contractors needed to work in the area without interrupting pedestrian flow around the area. The existing asphalt path had to be closed, due to its proximity to traffic during works. They could not just simply place diversion barriers or stairs; the structure utilised would need to be suitable for disabled access, too.

To keep the footpath open, the only solution was a temporary bridging system. And even though temporary in nature, the solution also needed to be compliant with the appropriate building standards.

Challenges included live traffic flowing along the New M5, the need to keep the footpath open and above all, the inability to use standard scaffolding in such a tight space.

To fit into the restricted area, the scaffolding system used needed to be able to accommodate acute structural angles at its connection points while still providing a gradient less steep the required 1:14.

Local portable height access provider, SafeSmart Access, were chosen to design and install the bridge, largely because of their unique Proscaf steel scaffolding system.

Proscaf is quick to install, thanks to its bolt-free connections, and the Ringlock rosettes allow for eight connections between tubing, to be made at several angles. The system is also extremely strong, with 5kPa weight rating. The 2m-wide deck is also produced with an anti-slip surface, stretching some 120m from beginning to end.

The icing on the cake for SafeSmart and the WestConnex contractor was that the system complied with flying colours to Building Code of Australia (BCA) standards, along with the ability to mix aluminium and steel materials – to build a base out of strong steel and then aluminium elements along the top that reduce weight-related fatigue when being installed.

SafeSmart Access’ Nathan Joyce knows that the contractor is happy with the resulting access. And further works that will occur along the 13km arterial will attract opportunities to implement the system over and over again.

"The design and build methods were unique. SafeSmart Access designed and created a masterpiece of what the Proscaf rosette scaffold system can accomplish with design configuration,” says Nathan, “and the contractor has us in mind for this type of thing along the road project, as it rolls out over the next few years.”

The entire WestConnex project is due for completion in 2023.