Townsville Port Access Road project

Value: $192 million

Client: Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and the Abigroup Seymour Whyte Constructions Joint Venture (ASW JV)

Contract model: Early Contractor Involvement (ECI)

Period: mid 2008 - late 2012

Scope: This project involved design and construction of a 10km road link between the Flinders and Bruce Highways and the Port of Townsville, one of the largest industrial harbours in Queensland. The route provides direct access to the port from the south and west of Townsville, bypassing suburban areas, and reducing heavy vehicle traffic on residential streets.

The new road link consists of three sections - the Stuart Bypass, the Eastern Access Corridor, and the Ross River Bridge.

The 2.5km Stuart Bypass connects the Flinders and Bruce Highways, and enables heavy vehicles to avoid travelling through the nearby suburbs of Stuart and Wulguru. Construction of the bypass included building new road bridges over the North Coast Rail Line and Stuart Creek, widening sections of the Flinders and Bruce Highways, and upgrading a number of other local roads.

The Eastern Access Corridor runs north from the Bruce Highway towards the Port of Townsville. The corridor features 7.5km of two-lane roadway, four bridges and fourteen drainage structures, built on an environmentally sensitive floodplain. The corridor also provides for construction of future additional traffic lanes, and rail and conveyor services to the Port.

The Ross River Bridge joins the Eastern Access Corridor to the Port of Townsville. Situated at the mouth of the river, the 192m-long concrete structure features six spans and two traffic lanes.

Involvement: Communikate was responsible for assisting DTMR and the ASW JV to develop and maintain an effective working relationship, and helping to resolve any issues that had the potential to affect cooperation and morale within the project team. This involved:

  • helping to establish the project team, and develop its mission, vision and values charter
  • developing and implementing a relationship management program for the project team
  • advising the Project Management Group (PMG) and Project Leadership Group (PLG) about relationship and internal communications issues
  • planning and facilitating relationship development workshops, issues management forums and a range of team building events
  • undertaking regular surveys of DTMR and ASW JV personnel to assess satisfaction with relationships and communication in the project team and identify potential risks
  • coaching and advising individual team members regarding relationship and communication issues

Positive outcomes: Both DTMR and the ASW JV strongly supported the relationship management program from the outset of the project.

Active participation in program initiatives helped DTMR and ASW JV project personnel to quickly gel into a high performing team, working towards shared objectives and mutually beneficial outcomes. This proved vital on several occasions when the project team faced major technical setbacks and commercial risks, and managed to successfully overcome these challenges and keep project delivery on track. It also enabled the team to successfully resolve a number of internal conflicts and communication issues which could have had serious negative impacts on the project.