Houghton Highway Duplication Project

Value: $315 million

Client: Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and the Hull Albem Joint Venture (HA JV)

Contract model: Traditional Construction Contract

Period: early 2008 – late 2011

Scope: This landmark project involved construction of a new 2.7km road bridge across Bramble Bay in south-east Queensland, to double the capacity of the busy Houghton Highway between Brisbane and Redcliffe.

The new Ted Smout Memorial Bridge is one of the longest road bridges in the southern hemisphere, and currently the only coastal bridge in Australia designed to withstand a 1-in-2000 year storm event. Located 35m east of the existing Houghton Highway Bridge (commissioned in 1979), it features three additional traffic lanes, a pedestrian / cycle path, and a fishing platform over the main channel into the Pine River estuary.

The project involved a number of other major works. These included:

  • constructing new multi-lane approaches, intersections, pedestrian underpasses, recreation areas and public carparks at both ends of the Houghton Highway
  • upgrading the existing Houghton Highway bridge with a new overhead intelligent transport system (featuring variable speed signs), new expansion joints, and a new asphalt road surface
  • demolishing the adjacent old Hornibrook Bridge, which had deteriorated severely.

Built in 1923, the old Hornibrook Bridge served as the key road link between Brisbane and Redcliffe for over 50 years, before being closed to traffic in 1979. It remained in use as a pedestrian bridge until mid 2010.

The iconic entry portals of the old bridge were retained and restored as urban design features. The first span of the southern end of the bridge was also retained and converted to a viewing platform. A new 100m public fishing jetty was built at the northern end of the old bridge. The jetty incorporates some recycled timber from the old bridge, and its concrete support piers imitate the look of those from the original structure.

Involvement: Communikate managed the community and stakeholder engagement requirements of the project on behalf of HA JV throughout the three-and-a-half year construction period. Our responsibilities included:

  • developing and implementing the project community engagement program
  • reporting to and advising the HA JV project management team about communications and stakeholder engagement issues
  • visiting hundreds of properties and meeting with affected residents and business owners to provide information about the scope, timing and impacts of project works
  • managing stakeholder enquiries and complaints
  • assisting DTMR with planning and staging a major community open day celebration to mark the commissioning of the new Ted Smout Memorial Bridge
  • producing and distributing a large volume of project communications including works notices, monthly construction updates, newsletters, and press advertisements

Positive outcomes: Consistent proactive engagement with the community and key stakeholders throughout the project generated and maintained strong local awareness of construction progress and work activities.

An average of only three complaints per month were received from the commencement to completion of construction. This was a very low rate, considering the duration and high impacts of some of the works, such as piling, complete closures of the Houghton Highway bridge on several weekends, and major contra-flow traffic switches.