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WestConnex: Integrated supply solution

22 August 2018

Key Information

InfraBuild has proved its value proposition to WestConnex piling contractor Wagstaff with its integrated fabrication and delivery model.

A new state-of-the-art coping machine and efficient, integrated supply of steel have helped to keep a key section of Sydney’s WestConnex project on track.

InfraBuild Steel Centre (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Metalcentre) in Wetherill Park has supplied several thousand tonnes of universal and welded columns to piling contractor Wagstaff for installation at the St Peters Interchange in Sydney’s inner west, part of the new M5. One thousand six hundred (1600) piles, each of them 36 metres long, will support road pavement and bridge infrastructure at the site.

The St Peters Interchange is a major feature of the WestConnex project, which is being built with connections for the M4–M5 Link, the future F6 Extension and Sydney Gateway.

Twin 9km tunnels will stretch from the St Peters Interchange to Kingsgrove roughly parallel to the existing M5 East and double the motorway corridor from two to four lanes in each direction.

St Peters Interchange Westconnex

The new M5 has provided the catalyst for the remediation of the contaminated Alexandria Landfill site. Upon completion of the project the St Peters Interchange will be transformed with 8.5 hectares of new green space and 12km of new and improved shared pedestrian and cycle paths.

Efficient, integrated supply of steel

To secure the contract for supply of steel, InfraBuild Steel Centre had to demonstrate its proficiency in project management, technical competence, quality standards, risk mitigation and team work.

It helped that InfraBuild Steel Centre in Wetherill Park had invested in a new 7-axis FICEP robotic coping machine approximately six months before the project began.

InfraBuild Steel Centre’s Muralidhara Sharma says the coping machine was key during the tender process. “If not for the machine we would not have been successful in winning this project,” he says.

Muralidhara explains that the machine enabled InfraBuild Steel Centre to bevel the ends of the beams on site, as well as weld stiffener plates onto the end of each column. Avoiding the need to shunt thousands of tonnes of steel to a fabricator meant the beams could be transported direct to site ready to install after processing at InfraBuild Steel Centre’s Wetherill Park branch.

“We removed a fair chunk of cost in relation to fabrication and transportation,” Muralidhara says.

“We also had to make quite a few changes to our normal processes. We had to modify some of the embedded computer programs to ensure we could deliver to Wagstaff’s requirements. Working within very tight tolerances made production of the beams demanding from a technical point of view, but the tolerance was met with 100 per cent repeatability.”

Adapting rolling and supply schedules

As a local, integrated supplier, InfraBuild (formerly LIBERTY Steel) was able to offer an additional benefit by adapting its rolling and supply schedules to suit Wagstaff’s timeline requirements.

Streamlining the delivery of the columns was a huge value-add, according to Muralidhara.

“The site didn’t want drivers to get onto the truck onsite, so we had to make arrangements to offload the steel as quickly as possible without anyone having to get onto the trucks.”

InfraBuild Steel Centre and Wagstaff jointly came up with the solution of pre-slinging the material before loading to the truck. Though technically difficult, the pre-slung loads meant Wagstaff could offload trucks faster on site which, in turn, improved turnaround time.

Although the project was challenging both technically and operationally, it has proved that there is substantialvalue in working with an integrated supplier like InfraBuild to help speed up project roll-out.

Work continues on the Interchange with new bridge girders being craned above ground linking the Interchange with Gardeners Road and continued excavation of the two nine-kilometre M5 twin tunnels (75 per cent complete as at August 2018).

The St Peters Interchange and the new M5 are set to open to traffic in early 2020.

All images courtesy Roads and Maritime Services