Upper Hunter Valley Alliance
The Upper Hunter Valley Alliance was formed between Leighton Contractors and ARTC in 2009 to deliver a significant program of civil and track works on the Hunter Valley network between Singleton and Werris Creek. The Hexham Relief Roads project was then added to the Alliance scope in 2012.
A key part of the ARTC 2009-2018 Hunter Valley Corridor Capacity Strategy, this program of works is essential to enable the rail corridor to meet future demand, deliver coal to port efficiently and thereby contribute to the ongoing strength of the Australian economy.
Leighton Contractors is the lead non-owner participant acting as Principal Contractor responsible for cost estimation, design, project management, construction delivery, subcontractor management, safety, quality, environmental management and community relations.
The team manages all aspects from the concept phase all detailed track and civil design, planning and environmental approvals, construction and commissioning on site and handover to operations.
Project Milestones and Achievements
- We have delivered 13 discrete projects to date constructing new loops, civil works, turnouts, crossovers and power upgrades.
- We have improved possession scheduling, reporting and reliability during critical major closedown works.
- In-house experience in all disciplines has provided value for money and self performance opportunities to ARTC, which assures timely program delivery.
- Effective early consultation and the timely response to community concerns has resulted in successful completion of 96 hr possession(s) within rural townships with minimal community complaints.
- Refined turnout installation methodologies have enabled significant time and cost savings; i.e. using ‘slide-in’ practices, two new turnouts can be installed in a single 5 hour maintenance possession, de-risking any of the four full closedown possessions made available annually.
- Commercially, the Alliance has maintained greensheet margin %, but increased turnover by 73% ($150m turnover increased to $260m).
- We have introduced several key initiatives, including rollout of services, driver perception training and review of the benefits of a Business Excellence model framework.
Dealing with project issues
- A focus on service provision and customer needs to ensure we meet ARTC’s stakeholder and operational requirements – for major projects and the corridor asset team – is key to maintaining the Alliance in the Valley.
- The UHVA program takes projects from environmental impact assessment through to delivery. To date, this has involved two State Significant (EPA Act) Part 5.1 assessments (EISs) and 10 Part 5 assessments (REFs). The program has benefited from the continual refinement of internal processes resulting in zero reportable environmental incidents.
- The landscapes that contain aboriginal heritage, threatened flora and fauna and riparian areas. UHVA’s positive track record in planning and managing these issues demonstrates the effective integration between the environment, design, safety, planning, construction, community and quality teams.
- The collective projects are dispersed over a wide geographical area. Support teams are co-located to ensure integration and remote facilities were set up early in each project’s life cycle to ensure remote access is available.
- A key standout is the improvement in the possession management process – detailed possession scope, finalisation and pre-possession meetings. Our process requires an Engineer in Charge to monitor programs each hour during the possession periods.
- To address the Hunter region’s resource scarcity, the Alliance introduced dual or triple supplier procurement strategies. Key benefits have included closer working relationships with suppliers, increased purchasing consistency and simplicity and, most significantly, better value for money for the Alliance.
Hexham Relief Roads Project
- The Hexham Relief Roads project (construction of five new rail lines adjacent to the existing rail mainline) is the main project under the UHVA. The holding roads will enable ARTC to manage the sequencing of trains into the port.
- The project includes significant works in the environmentally sensitive wetlands area around Newcastle. The team has secured planning approvals, construction and environmental management plan approvals, an Environmental Protection Licence and acquired land in December 2013. Works commenced in December 2013.
- On 19 January 2014, the team successfully completed a large tandem crane lift to place a conveyor across 4 existing tracks in a night time possession. Using 450T and 250T cranes, the team lifted in the section, mitigating program risk by facilitating the import of rock and quarry products to the project.
- The team will work to commission the project in November 2014 to suit ARTCs strategic requirement to deliver rail capacity in advance of industry contracted coal volumes.
- The Alliance continues to meet or exceed all the ARTC project objectives.
- The quality of our leadership is demonstrated through the project’s success. Significant amounts of works are completed on time, to a very high standard and with zero impact to train operations.
- Our KRA performance on possession handback for 2013 is 10/10 with an average of 95% for an overall score over all KRAs over the past three and a half years.
Environmental monitoring data
For further information relating to environmental management of the project please call 1800 722 669.
NB. The construction of the Nundah Bank project is complete and no additional environmental monitoring data will be generated from 15.3.13 onwards.