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Tunnel just one part of the freeway deal

PERTH’S new freeway project is a lot more than just a tunnel carved under Northbridge.

While the tunnel has captured most of the attention, it forms less than a quarter of the entire Graham Farmer Freeway project.

More than half of the length of the project, some 3.5 kilometres, has been created by the Transfield Thiess Joint Venture.

This stage involved the construction of the freeway from East Parade in East Perth to Orrong Road in Rivervale.

As well as road building, it involved the construction of eight new traffic bridges.

These included a fully integrated grade separated intersection at Great Eastern Highway, the Riversdale Road bridge over the freeway, the six-lane freeway bridge spanning 406 metres across the Swan River and the intersection at East Parade involving the construction of two new bridges and the upgrade of a third.

A new pedestrian underpass was also built beneath East Parade.

A network of pedestrian pathways have been created between Great Eastern Highway in River-vale and East Parade and a 1.5 kilometre section of the Perth to Armadale railway line has been relocated and realigned.

There is now a new railway station servicing Belmont Park racecourse. It is planned that the station will soon also serve Burswood Resort.

TTJV project manager Seamus Doogan said the project was one of the most significant, and possibly the largest, ever undertaken by Main Roads WA.

He said the project had been a major one for TTJV because it involved a design as well as a construction component.

“That was a major challenge,” Mr Doogan said.

Besides design challenges, the project also suffered difficulties in the construction.

The original soil proved an unsuitable foundation for the eastern abutment of the six-lane bridge across the Swan River.

There was also a problem in pouring the bridge piers into the Swan River. No concrete pump in Perth could reach far enough.

Care also had to be taken to protect the Swan River rail bridge.

Mr Doogan said, with the exception of the main bridge, all other bridge structures were constructed by precasting concrete beams on site.

Mr Doogan said he took a great deal of personal satisfaction from the job.

“The reward comes from overcoming all the challenges successfully,” he said.

“Our industry is a difficult one. There are always challenges to overcome, be they technical or environmental.”

Mr Doogan said he had been in the construction industry all his life.

Since coming to Australian in 1991, Mr Doogan has been involved with building a hotel at Denham and the casino on Christmas Island.

With the freeway project finished he will move to the city to work on the redevelopment of the Barrack Street jetties.

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