Westconnex Rozelle Interchange Subject Matter Experts

We sat down with Steven Andrew from Turnbull Engineering to find out more about Australia’s largest transport infrastructure project and how we are helping to make it a success.

How are you involved in this project?

I oversee a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) undertaking reviews of the D&C Contractor’s Design Packages for Westconnex Stage 3B, Rozelle Interchange.  I review the SME’s comments to ensure our teams’ responses are appropriate, concise, and clear.

Tell us a little about Westconnex? What stage are you currently working on?

The Rozelle Interchange is a complex interaction of tunnels and their surface connections. It connects the underground road tunnels of Westconnex, and a future stub for the Western Harbour Tunnel, with the surface routes of Anzac Bridge, Victoria Road, City West Link and The Crescent. Turnbull Engineering have recognised SMEs for Road Alignment, Flooding and Drainage disciplines. Over my career I have found that good designers aren’t necessarily good design reviewers. A sound technical knowledge is essential, but what is just as important is the ability to articulate an issue in an effective manner and to be able to engage in constructive debate to resolve that issue. This requires an understanding of inter-disciplinary relationships and may require compromise.

What is the most interesting aspect of design reviews?

Developing a detailed design allows you to see a project change and evolve to produce a constructable, optimised outcome. Our reviews are identifying any apparent non-conformances and challenging the design whilst working with the contractor to resolve any issues and improve their alignment and drainage designs. Our SME reviewers are required to interpret drawings and reports, while noting any irregularities or discrepancy with the documents detailing the project requirements – such as the Project Deed, Scope of Work and Technical Criteria, and Road Design Guides.

What are the benefits of including technical experts in design delivery teams?

By engaging a team of Subject Matter Experts, TfNSW ensure robust independent review and address any apparent non-conformances for the design. TfNSW and future users of the infrastructure can be confident that the design has undergone a challenging and exhaustive review to ensure the design meets the stipulated requirements.

When is it expected to be finished?

The design is rapidly approaching final detail design. Construction work has commenced. The Rozelle Interchange is anticipated to be opened in 2023.

It looks complicated – in your opinion, which aspects have proven to be the trickiest?

The design comprises a network of road and ventilation tunnels, and emergency evacuation passages. Complex geometry is required to ensure these interrelate. The sequencing of construction is particularly tricky as partially completed elements must be able to drain, meet traffic demand, and be safe for constructors and road users.

What motivates you as an engineer?

I have most enjoyed the ‘blank canvas’ projects such as highway or rail route selection. In these projects I have enjoyed the process of identifying the best strategy to suit community, environmental and technical constraints. At times those projects were very challenging because people’s lives were being directly affected by the design team’s decisions. There is a need to genuinely listen to community concerns and then address those concerns with well-considered design. These projects have a long gestation, but it is very satisfying to see them constructed, and to see them from a user’s perspective, many years later.