Above: The renovation of the Royal Hobart Hospital in Hobart, TAS, set to be completed this year. Captured 6/3/2018.
2019 is here, and the pace of infrastructure development across Australia is showing no signs of slowing down. State transport initiatives dominate the landscape, along with expansion of essential services like hospitals and nationwide projects like the Inland Rail.
According to Infrastructure Australia's Planning Liveable Cities report, Australia's population is set to increase by over 11 million people by 2047; most of that growth will take place in the five major cities. The continued liveability and efficiency of our urban centres will depend in large part on the success of the infrastructure we’re currently building. And the success of those projects will greatly depend on the quality of the technology used to support them.
Having the right technical tools to plan and execute large-scale, multi-year infrastructure projects can mean the difference between delivering projects on time and to budget or getting delayed in fixing mistakes, revising plans, and waiting for additional funding.
With so many projects critical to the liveability of our future cities — along with the huge financial and human investments that bring them to life — it's vital that government and industry leaders incorporate current, accurate aerial imagery from project inception to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Here's a basic checklist to determine the suitability of your current aerial imagery solution for large infrastructure projects:
- Is everyone on the same map? Current, accurate aerial maps ensure that everyone in your organisation stays on the same page, maximising stakeholder engagement.
- Is your current imagery helping you deliver on time and to budget? Accuracy — both measurement accuracy and fineness of visible detail — derived from high resolution, current imagery helps you see what's really happening on your project site. Making decisions based on reality ensures you can accurately estimate labor and materials costs.
- Does it keep your community engaged? Sharp, timely imagery helps non-technical staff and community members visualise and embrace your plan.
- Does it show off your work in the best possible light? Showcasing your plans against the backdrop of reality imparts greater professionalism when presenting your proposal.
- Does it turn drive time into desk time? Property scouting, project planning, and feasibility assessment is a lot easier when you can conduct virtual site inspections from the convenience of your office.
- Does it get rid of data flab? Unifying multiple data sets into one common operating environment streamlines your entire project.
- Does it show you what lies beyond the project corridor? Seeing beyond the corridor of your proposed rail line, highway, or other development allows you to evaluate the impact on the surrounding environment and community.
- Does it automatically refresh? Coverage over the lifespan of multi-year projects, with imagery and data that’s refreshed regularly and published online within days of capture, means you’re never making decisions based on outdated imagery.
Whatever your state of imagery readiness, start thinking big with this overview of the significant infrastructure developments planned for 2019 across Australia.
Cedar Grove, QLD, part of the corridor for the Inland Rail. Captured 6/11/2018
EXPANDED NATIONAL RAIL
In December, the ceremonial first ground breaking for the construction of the Inland Rail took place in outback NSW, with a formal ceremony in Parkes. Bringing much needed decentralisation of communities and employment and associated service delivery to the bush, the Inland Rail is a massive infrastructure undertaking that will require best-in-class technical tools to plan and execute. The first trains will be operational in 2025, with double-stacked 1,800 metre trains connecting west to Perth and Adelaide, and along the east coast between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Pacific Park stop on the Newcastle Light Rail, set to open this year. Captured 8/12/2018.
ALL ABOARD IN NSW
The NSW Government’s $80 billion infrastructure pipeline is slated to commence major projects in 2019. Over the next four years, $43 billion of investment will see Australia’s largest transport infrastructure well underway, connecting new and existing residential areas with universities, recreation and sporting precincts, and leisure and cultural facilities.
Contracts were awarded in December for construction of Stage 1 of the $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail. The major infrastructure project will comprise a 12km two-way track connecting Westmead to Carlingford.
Contracts for $840 million of construction and $536 million to supply and operate the network, and build the depot, light rail stops, and power systems have been awarded, with work slated to begin in this year.
NSW has several other major and local infrastructure programs due for completion in the next few years. Some of the key projects include:
- A $4.9 billion upgrade to the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway, providing 155 km of safe four-lane divided road.
- The Newcastle Light Rail development, slated to be operational in 2019, part of a $650 million program to revitalise Newcastle’s city centre. The Newcastle Urban Transformation and Transport Program will focus on the waterfront, the city, and on delivering more efficient transport connections.
TASSIE GETS A NEW HOSPITAL AND BETTER BRIDGES
As Tasmania maintains the fourth-strongest economic performance in Australia, several major infrastructure projects including hotels, health facilities, and bridges will begin or move towards completion in 2019.
The $689 million redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital is due to be completed mid-year, as is Hobart's Remembrance Bridge and the pedestrian bridge over the Brooker Highway. A slew of significant hotel developments will be built in Hobart and Launceston, as well as major improvements to shopping, leisure, and entertainment precincts.
VIC EMBRACES DEVELOPMENT OF A CRITICAL RAIL LOOP AND HIGHWAY EXPANSION
The Melbourne Airport Rail Link moved a step closer to breaking ground with the selection in December 2018 of a technical advisor and commercial advisor from over 100 tenders. The Western Rail Plan is part of the overall picture, and detailed investigations of infrastructure upgrades, costs, and train requirements to deliver fast rail to the regions as part of the Airport Rail Link are now underway. With the VIC Rail Loop and Northeast Highway Linkprojects also forging ahead, the future of urban and regional development in Victoria is bright.
METRONET PROJECTS PROCEED IN WA
The May 2018 federal budget confirmed the Federal Government’s projected $3.2 billion infrastructure spend in Western Australia.
Slated projects listed for Federal funding include:
- An additional $1.1 billion for Metronet projects, including the Morley to Ellenbrook line
- The Armadale line, Midland Station, and business case funding for Lakelands Station
- $580.5 million for the Tonkin Highway
- $560 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road
- Up to $140 million in grant funding and a concessional loan of up to $50 million towards the Myalup-Wellington Dam Project
- $220 million for the Bindoon Bypass
An additional $188.9 million is set aside for WA hospital infrastructure development flowing from the GST restructure promised in the 2018 budget.
Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, the site of a planned tech precinct. Captured 5/12/2018.
A TECH PRECINCT FOR SA
In late 2018, the Federal Government announced a promise to fast track $395 million for infrastructure programs in SA. The deal contains $177 million for the Regency Road to Pym Street project, $220 million for electrification of the Gawler rail line, and $160 million on the duplication of the Joy Baluch Bridge in Port Augusta.
Another development of interest is the redevelopment of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital Site – now known as Lot 14. Placing Adelaide up with the world’s leading innovation cities, the seven-hectare neighbourhood will create an entrepreneurial ecosystem including corporations, startups, mentors, researchers, and investors. Space, experience, and talent will be shared and nurtured, moving Adelaide towards becoming a destination city for some of the world’s fastest growing industries, including AI, cyber security, smart sensor networks, robotics, defence, space technologies, and media and creative industries.
Want to learn more about how aerial imagery plays a role in planning and building major projects?