The Leighton Abigroup Joint Venture (LAJV) commissioned AECOM, in partnership with SMEC, to deliver the detailed design and provide construction-phase engineering assistance for the A$2.12-billion Gateway Upgrade Project, which includes the following:

  • construction of a second Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge, including pedestrian and cycle access, and the refurbishment of the existing bridge
  • 30 new or widened bridges of various configurations and types
  • 12 km of upgraded motorway constructed under traffic (100,000 vehicles per day) and 7 km of new motorway to the north
  • eight new or upgraded interchanges, including a new route to the Brisbane Airport
  • local road upgrades, to improve traffic flow
  • urban and landscape design, including iconic terrain waves at the north and south approaches to both

The Gateway Upgrade Project is critical to supporting South East Queensland’s rapidly growing population. When complete, it will reduce congestion and provide better access to and from Port of Brisbane, Brisbane Airport, the Eagle Farm industrial area, and between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

As lead project designers, we increased safety levels and minimised construction time by incorporating the following innovative features into our design of the stronger, more durable Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge:

  • matchcast concrete segments, which are more efficient than the precast segments used in the existing bridge
  • underwater arrestor islands surrounding each pier, designed to divert or ground off-course ships
  • fewer, wider piles than those supporting the existing Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge
  • amended span distances, eliminating the need for temporary piers by providing the optimal juxtaposition of main-span and approach-span

In addition, our urban and landscape design weaves ribbons of predominantly local vegetation into the surrounding environment and enhances the site with curvilinear noise walls and iconic land art.

With additional input from Cardno, Aas-Jakobsen, and Coffey, we completed the substantial design in just 15 months and contributed to the 300-year design life of the new Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge, which opened in May 2010 — six months ahead of schedule.