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SMEC celebrates Sydney Metro Northwest ENR Global Project of the Year Award win

A panel of industry judges and editors of the prestigious Michigan-based Engineering News-Record (ENR) selected the Sydney Metro Northwest in Australia as the 2018 Global Project of the Year and Best Rail Project.

SMEC was the Design Lead on the international project team and designed the three-span cable stayed rail bridge. Located in the north west of Sydney, this unique curved in plan bridge was constructed using precast segmental concrete.

The bridge forms the tail end of a 4.5 km elevated viaduct that is part of the new Sydney Metro. The metro is the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Australia and its first phase, the Northwest line, includes eight new stations, approximately 15.5 kms of tunnels and the aforementioned ‘skytrain’ viaduct.

The cable stayed bridge and its temporary works were designed by a team of engineers in SMEC South Africa’s Cape Town office between 2013 and 2017. The team first conceived the winning tender design, for contractors Salini Impregilo, in a design and build tender. They went on to develop the detailed design and undertook the erection engineering work and temporary works design during construction. It was a mammoth task that absorbed a team of up to 15 staff for over four years.

The project is especially noteworthy in that the deck superstructure was first built as a seven span continuous girder on temporary supports using an overhead self-launching gantry. Thereafter the bridge was converted into a three span cable stayed bridge and the temporary supports were removed. The use of the precast segmental concrete for the deck superstructure was a required continuation of the main viaduct. The challenge for the SMEC team became the integration of the techniques and temporary works used to build precast segmental concrete bridges with the demands of cable stayed bridge construction.

ENR looked for projects that demonstrated the risks and rewards, and the hurdles overcome, of designing and building internationally. The project is described by ENR as ‘an elegant and sustainable rail project utilising innovative construction techniques.’ SMEC South Africa is proud to have been part of such an iconic and successful rail project.


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