Bruce Highway Realignment Through the Cardwell Range

Department of Transport and Main Roads


David Rivett was Team Leader (Environment) for the concept and planning phases of this project for a 4.2 km $150 million re-alignment of the Bruce Highway over the Cardwell Range south of Cardwell.

Work included the preparation of environmental design advice, completion of an Environmental Analysis Report, EPBC Act referral, Wet Tropics Management Plan permit application, EMP (Planning), environmental optimisation and management studies (including multi-criteria analysis of environmental attributes), and all liaison and negotiation with environmental agencies.

Following approval of the business case, Environment North then worked with BMD-Albem, Flanagan Consulting Group, and Parsons Brinkerhoff to develop a Total Cost Estimate for the detailed design and construction phase via an alliance-style contract with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Our major achievement in the business case phase of the project was securing an EPBC Act "not a controlled action" outcome, despite the fact that the project interfaced with two World Heritage areas and several listed plant and animal species. This was attributable to the team's "mitigation by design" approach where all possible impacts were recognised, graphically depicted in a comprehensive constraints analysis, given serious consideration during design using multi-criteria analysis techniques, and to a large extent "designed out". DSEWPaC accepted that all that could be done to mitigate impacts had been done.

Environmental design features proposed during the planning phase and carried forward into construction included a 188 m long viaduct (to allow fauna passage under the road and maintain ecological connectivity), numerous fauna underpasses and overpasses, stormwater quality improvement devices, and a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.

Although highly regarded by TMR, our team was not successful in winning the Alliance Contract.

Innovation/Distinguishing Features

Emphasis on constraints and multi-criteria analysis feeding into mitigation by design resulted in the project being considered not a controlled action by DSEWPaC.

Source: TMR