MSE Retaining Walls for Sydney Gateway Project

The Sydney Gateway project, spanning from 2021 to 2024, is set to revolutionise connectivity in one of Australia’s busiest urban areas. Located at Sydney Airport in New South Wales, the project provides a toll-free connection from the St Peters Interchange, significantly improving journey times to the airport, the M5 and the Eastern Distributor.

Dubbed the missing link in Sydney’s motorway network, Sydney Gateway will enhance access to the Airport Precinct, offering a high-capacity network and more reliable journeys.

50 MSE walls spanning plus 15,000m2

Reinforced Earth played a pivotal role in the Sydney Gateway project, tasked with the design, supply and installation of more than 50 Reinforced Earth® mechanically stabilised walls (MSE) across five main work areas: Northern Lands, St Peters Interchange, Tempe Tip, Airport Drive and Qantas Drive.

These Reinforced Earth® structures, included abutment walls, approach ramps and retaining walls of various heights and complexities, cover an area exceeding 15,000m². For this project RECo developed 3m wide by 1.5m high TerraPlus® concrete panels, utilising roughly 500 tons of soil reinforcing strips, with the tallest wall standing more than 8.5m high.

Providing installation services alongside design and supply marked a first for RECo, which partnered with Retaining Solutions under the consortium name RESOLVE® to execute the installation. This streamlined the project under one contract and is proving a popular solution in the market.

Key features of RECo’s project include:

  • Production of more 15,000m² of precast concrete facing panels for MSE walls at RECo’s Albury, NSW factory, producing panels over a period of three years
  • Design, Supply and Construction of 50 MSE retaining walls across various areas in Sydney, engaging multiple client teams.
  • Custom-made form liners to produce panels with special urban designs.
  • Walls standing from 1.5m high up to more than 8.5m high

Project and Milestones

A Transport for New South Wales initiative, the $2.6 billion Sydney Gateway project commenced in November 2021, with construction peaking between April and August 2022, with the remaining stages to be completed 2024. Featuring a total of 19 bridges, including one that is wider than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and offering a direct connection to the new Sydney motorway network at St Peters Interchange, Sydney Gateway not only streamlines travel for motorists but divert up to 10,000 trucks a day from local streets.

Significant milestones for RECo in the project include the completion of a package enabling the Twin Arch Bridge launch over Alexandra Canal and the completion of work packages that helped to finalise a flyover for Airport Drive. The project was spearheaded by the John Holland and Seymour Whyte Joint Venture (JHSW), with Seymour Whyte, like RECo, being a subsidiary of Vinci Group.

Precast Concrete Innovations

Several innovative technologies and methods were utilised by the RECo team in this project, including:

  • in-house adjustable precast insert hanger bars for lifters and ferrules
  • the first-of-its-kind 3m wide x 1.5m high concrete panel
  • a panel block-out system to secure facing panels using removable plates and z-bars, and;
  • multiple 8-in-a-row table moulds for continuous panel production, reducing concrete waste and pour time.

These innovations enhance production efficiency, panel stability, and flexibility in casting custom panels, contributing to overall project sustainability.

Positive Impacts

The project has made a significant positive impact on both the local community and the broader Sydney area. It’s estimated $2.2 billion of economic activity was created for businesses supplying goods and services to the project.

In Albury, NSW, RECo’s production line provided employment for 12 dedicated workers and attracted internships, some leading to permanent positions. In Sydney, the project created more than 4,300 jobs and is expected to cut morning travel time by up to 40 minutes for motorists from Parramatta to the Airport. It also returned local roads to communities and improve pedestrian and cycling links, enhancing community spaces.

Environmental considerations were also a key aspect of the project, incorporating a 25% SCM (FA) concrete mix, replacing cement with flyash, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Contact us

For more information and to view time-lapse videos, visit Sydney Gateway. Contact your local Reinforced Earth office to discuss your MSE wall and precast panel needs for road and rail infrastructure projects.

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