Gold Coast Rapid Transit project, Southport roadworks

Value: $60 million

Client: Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and Seymour Whyte Constructions (SWC)

Contract model: Early Tenderer Involvement (ETI)

Period: late 2010 - early 2012

Scope: This contract formed part of DTMR’s early and enabling works for Stage 1 of the $1 billion Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project, which will provide a 13km light rail route through Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

The works involved extensive relocation and installation of new underground services through the centre of Southport’s main commercial precinct to make way for the rail route. These included water, wastewater, drainage, gas, electricity and telecommunications services along Queen, Nerang and Scarborough Streets; extremely busy local roads lined with hundreds of homes and businesses, several large schools and community centres, and major medical clinics and hospitals.

Other significant works carried out under the contract included:

  • levelling and widening several sections of Queen, Nerang and Scarborough Streets
  • reconstructing four major multi-lane signalled intersections
  • building new, relocated amenities for local sporting clubs, to make way for the rail route

Involvement: Communikate managed the community and stakeholder engagement requirements of the project on behalf of SWC throughout construction. Our responsibilities included:

  • participating in SWC project team tender development workshops and client presentations
  • conducting extensive pre-project community research and stakeholder risk analyses
  • developing and implementing the project communications and stakeholder management program, and communication control plans for a range of high-risk tasks
  • reporting to and advising the SWC and DTMR project management teams about communication and stakeholder engagement issues
  • consulting / liaising with more than 2,000 directly affected local stakeholders to deliver information about the scope, timing and impacts of construction works (this included frequent doorknock visits to hundreds of properties in the project work zone)
  • managing a high volume of stakeholder enquiries and complaints (up to 80 matters per month)
  • assisting DTMR to facilitate a number of community information events
  • writing, producing and distributing a large quantity of project communications, including works notices, traffic alerts, and monthly construction updates
  • preparing content for project web pages, media releases, and press advertisements
  • undertaking regular community and stakeholder satisfaction surveys

Positive outcomes: Due to high urban density and heavy traffic flow throughout the construction corridor, major impacts on local residents, businesses, motorists and commuters were unavoidable. Despite these challenges, the project communication and stakeholder engagement program helped ensure that:

  • the community was kept well informed throughout construction
  • enquiries and complaints were managed efficiently and effectively (addressed within four hours and closed out within three working days in most cases)
  • the SWC project team was highly aware of community concerns, and tried wherever practically possible to minimise construction impacts by modifying work methods and staging

This resulted in:

  • 88% of stakeholder survey participants indicating they were satisfied with the project team’s communication and stakeholder engagement performance
  • The project team receiving several complimentary letters from members of the community regarding stakeholder engagement performance, and the attitude / behaviour of SWC personnel
  • Minimal negative media coverage about the Southport roadworks