Every year across NSW Roads and Maritime Services undertakes projects ranging from the simple to the simply amazing.
With over 17,000 km's of transport infrastructure under our management, we are continually looking for new and innovative ways to construct and maintain the network.
Our engineers and designers seek out and develop new and improved solutions to the construction challenges that we face. We win awards for both the technology we develop and the roads we construct.
This page is a showcase of some of the projects that illustrate the calibre of our innovation. These projects also show the high performance culture that exists within Roads and Maritime Services.
The opportunity: Steve Ward is a Works Assistant with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). He saw a need to improve the safety of co-workers who were struggling to fit 150kg timber bridge planks in place during bridge work.
The solution: Steve's research into available tools showed that there were no existing tools to assist in lifting the planks - so he designed and built his own plank lifting tool!
The result: The plank lifter has improved safe work practice. It has helped the bridge crews to lift more, work faster and more safely, and save costs.
In addition, Steve's innovation won the coveted award for Achievement By An Individual at the 2011 Premier's Public Sector Awards.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Information System
The opportunity: To improve condition monitoring, maintenance reporting and storing information for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The solution: Bridge asset maintenance software was created to meet this need. This specialised database, linked to 3D modelling, provides a cutting edge tool to monitor conditions on the Harbour Bridge, as well as maintenance reporting and storing bridge information.
The result: This software is a world first for any major bridge, and sets the benchmark for world's best practice.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge Information System was a finalist in the Innovation Through Technology category at the 2011 Premier's Public Sector Awards.
Milsons Point Wharf Upgrade
The opportunity: To improve customer facilities and disabled access, and to improve the overall functionality of the wharf.
The solution: This upgrade involved the complete demolition and reconstruction of the wharf and its structures. The re-built wharf uses hydraulic ramp technology to adjust the pontoon height with the tide.
The result: Ferry customers can now enjoy improved customer facilities, and the new wharf is wheelchair accessible. The wharf is now more ecologically and financially sustainable. This project is considered a successful prototype for a program of wharf replacements and upgrades across the harbour.
The Milsons Point Wharf upgrade project was a finalist in the Innovation Through Technology category at the 2011 Premier's Public Sector Awards.
Remote control inspector
The opportunity: Roads and Maritime Services Bridge Inspectors need to enter confined spaces on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in order to inspect the paint and steel conditions.
The risks of such inspections include asphyxiation due to poisonous gases, being exposed to fuel spills and exhaust fumes, and falling from heights.
The solution: To reduce the risk of the bridge inspections and increase safe work practices, Roads and Maritime Services developed a remote control inspector in 2010. This device takes the place of the Bridge Inspector for entering a confined space.
The remote control inspector is built on the chassis of a remote control buggy. It's driven via a live video feed over a long range digital signal. The project team consulted on the prototype development with PhD students and professors from the School of Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney.
The result: The remote control inspector has undoubtedly improved workplace safety.
The remote control inspector has made inspections inside confined spaces on the Harbour Bridge. During these inspections, the remote control inspector has successfully recorded high quality images and video, so that Roads and Maritime Services team can classify the condition of the paint and steel, and identify needed repairs.
When repairs do commence, the remote control inspector can first be sent into the confined space where its on-board gas monitor can analyse the air quality. If the gas monitor's alarm sounds then the workers will know it is not safe to enter. This reduces the risk of asphyxiation to the workers.
Longwall mining project (Hume Highway)
The opportunity: BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal planned to extract coal directly beneath the Hume Highway. The mining would be undertaken from the Bulli Seam, approximately 530 metres below the surface of the road, using longwall mining techniques.
The Hume Highway is an important road corridor linking Sydney with Canberra and Melbourne. This road currently carries in excess of 39,000 vehicles per day and in excess of 20 million tonnes of road freight annually.
The solution: A number of innovative monitoring systems and management plans were developed in 2010 and put in place to manage the risks that the mining posed to the highway pavement. These measures were researched, developed and successfully implemented during mining.
The techniques used to manage the potential impacts on the pavement are believed to be a world first and included the use of:
- Pavement slots.
- Real time monitoring including optical fibre pavement sensors.
The result: This work has been recognised in the mining industry as leading edge infrastructure management.
The lessons learnt from this experience will assist Roads and Maritime Services in the future to select appropriate pavement designs for new pavements that are to be constructed over known but yet to be extracted coal resources.