West Gate Tunnel Project: Canal Crossing Challenge Solved for CPB + John Holland

The West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne is well underway, featuring various access points around the city’s west including a site on the Maribyrnong River in Footscray.

Construction personnel from the CPB/John Holland joint venture needed constant on-foot access over an historic man-made canal that juts from the river alongside Maribyrnong Street towards the west.

And including a bluestone retaining wall dating back to the colonial era, the surrounding banks are heritage listed, so the access system needed to span the 6m-wide waterway with minimal contact; and it needed to support itself with minimal underside bracing.

The joint venture contacted SafeSmart Access, at their depot in Keilor Park, to come up with an answer.

Using their own Proscaf scaffolding as core componentry, SafeSmart’s in-house design and engineering team devised a craneable access ramps system that would perform as a stretcher bridge across the canal, supported from above by ‘suspension bridge’-like framework that also acts as a pedestrian fall barrier.

It is the design flexibility of Proscaf that made the concept possible, and its lightweight nature makes it easy and fast to assemble, disassemble and redeploy in other locations.

This bridge was assembled at SafeSmart’s yard and trucked to site for quick craning-in.

The joint venture has been really impressed by the Proscaf bridge design. SafeSmart’s Charles Dover is seeing the client consider the benefits of such a system for future projects.

“They were particularly pleased with our service of pre-assembly,” says Charles. “Having it already made and simply shipped to site for a quick install saved them a lot of time and money.”

The West Gate tunnel is expected to be open to traffic in 2022.

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