Easing Sydney’s traffic flow
Ventia provides incident response and maintenance services to two of Sydney’s most critical motorway assets – the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel, helping keep traffic moving safely for road users
Connecting Sydney city’s north and south, the Eastern Distributor is an important link within Sydney’s motorway network. At 6km long, the motorway bypasses up to 19 sets of traffic lights and features a unique 1.7km ‘double-decked’ tunnel accommodating three lanes of traffic in each direction.
During its construction, 400,000 cubic metres of soil, largely Sydney Hawkesbury sandstone, was removed - equal to 40,000 truckloads.
The Cross-City Tunnel runs for 2.1km and bypasses 18 sets of traffic lights to help road users avoid inner-city congestion and connects with the Eastern Distributor.
Since 2015, we have delivered services to our client Transurban for the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel. Prior to that, our team delivered operations and maintenance services for the Eastern Distributor from its opening in 1999 and for the Cross-City Tunnel from 2007 under a previous operating business (Leighton Contractors Services).
Our efficient and effective services
Ventia provides the following two services streams for both tunnel assets.
Incident response and traffic control: We work collaboratively with Transurban’s control room to respond to incidents. Our staff are experienced and trained to manage the range of high intensity situations that arise on motorway environments. When dealing with customers after an unexpected breakdown or accident, our staff are polite and professional, maintaining a calming presence, while working to safely move disabled vehicles to a safe location.
Maintenance services: This includes routine maintenance, preventative works, corrective works, asset condition monitoring, and managing urgent works.
Meeting the client’s needs
Quarterly tunnel closures are undertaken at the Cross-City Tunnel and Eastern Distributor to complete major maintenance and inspection activities, keeping the roads safe and well maintained for motorists.
Maintenance is carried out on a variety of associated assets including:
- water treatment plants (x6)
- fire detection and suppression systems
- control systems
- emergency management systems.
The closures involve a major logistical team effort, with planning and preparation key to ensuring a smooth, on-time rollout of services within the tight window timeframe, and with minimum impact to the public.
With up to 200 Ventia, Transurban and sub-contractor workers on-site, a series of safety toolbox meetings are held to ensure everyone is aware of their safety responsibilities and safe work procedures.
Preparation involves taking workers through key tasks and important pieces of information including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements, traffic control measures, critical risk tasks, first aid and emergency procedures, noise management and community considerations, fire safety and more.
Creating value for our clients
At Ventia, we focus on delivering robust, quality solutions for our clients, going above and beyond in our service delivery.
Transurban and Ventia have a collaborative working relationship with open lines of communication and co-location in offices for both contracts.
In collaboration with Transurban we re-sheeted 102,000 square metres of pavement over 170-night shifts requiring 17,450 tons of asphalt with minimal disruption to road users. This required high levels of coordination, planning and supervision, with up to 200 people working on any one night, to minimise closure times for road users.
Developing smart, customised solutions
Over the past 10 years, our Cross City Tunnel team has helped more than 150 million vehicles to travel safely through the tunnel and managed more than 1,800 incidents without harm to our people or road users.
It’s this ongoing focus on safety which has led to the development of an industry first. The team use Truck Mounted Attenuators (TMAs) to keep workers safe during incident management and routine maintenance operations. TMAs are fitted to the back of heavy road vehicles, which are placed between the worker and oncoming traffic. When deployed, they absorb the crash energy of the errant car.
After the standard design TMA (“Scorpion”), caused significant damage to tunnel fixtures due to its height, the team had to think outside the box to deliver an innovative solution.
Working closely with our inhouse and Equipment team the contract team redesigned the TMA to meet the specific height restrictions of the tunnel and the depot surrounds. The result is a world-first sliding TMA that is safer, lower in height, shorter in length and faster to deploy.
Civil and Incident Response Maintenance Manager, Jason Quarta says; “The final TMA design was 12 months in the making and is an industry first, showing what can be achieved when different parts of the business work collaboratively together.”
We are now standardising the design for tunnel applications, and a second unit has been built for use in the Eastern Distributor Tunnel.
Expertise in electrical and mechanical maintenance
We provide mechanical and electrical (M&E) maintenance services at both the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel. The assets that we maintain include the tunnel ventilation axial fans, jet fans, equipment room air conditioning, environmental monitoring equipment, water treatment plant, dry fire systems, wet fire systems, transformers, switchboards, lighting and uninterruptible power supplies.
Our maintenance planners are responsible for scheduling preventative maintenance activities in the asset information system to ensure a coordinated approach to maintenance delivery.
Where possible, works are scheduled outside of peak times to prevent network disruption. Similarly, where maintenance activities are required to be undertaken during a closure, these are programmed to minimise the number of closure nights.
Our experience in optimising maintenance delivery has helped to reduce costs and maximise asset availability for commuters and revenue for our client.
The majority of our M&E maintenance is self-performed by our own licensed electricians and qualified fire and HVAC technicians. Where specialist maintenance (such as air quality monitoring and calibration) is required, these services are outsourced to specialist subcontractors and supervised by Ventia staff.
All services are performed safely in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards, codes and Code of Maintenance Standards.
In the last four years of delivering M&E maintenance for the Eastern Distributor and Cross City Tunnel, we have completed more than 30,000 work orders with more than 95% on-time completion rate. This demonstrates the experience and reliability of our team.
Making infrastructure work for our communities
Our commitment to the community starts with our purpose – ‘making infrastructure work for our communities’ – and is woven into the work we do each day.
Before we commence any maintenance or capital works that may disrupt residents and businesses, we communicate the planned works via letter drop notifications. Feedback is directed to a customer service line managed by Transurban. This partnered approach keeps our finger on the pulse for community concerns and helps us mitigate any future issues.
One example of a mitigation strategy based on community feedback is the use of noise blankets to reduce noise during pit repair projects where road saws and jackhammers are used for demolition work. These temporary acoustic panels, set up around a specific work area, act as a barrier to reduce noise pollution.
The contract in numbers
- Managed 1,800+ incidents without harm at the Cross City Tunnel
- Reduced electricity consumption by 15 % by optimising the ventilation system
- Daily treatment of more than 250,000L of ground water to recycle back into Sydney Harbour