Major Projects & Infrastructure

Solving congestion by going underground

Solving traffic congestion by going deep under the ground.

As the city of Melbourne grew, its rail line became increasingly congested. To address the problem, John Holland, CPB Contractors, AECOM, Metro Trains Melbourne, and Rail Projects Victoria formed the Rail Infrastructure Alliance (RIA). The joint venture determined they could improve rail performance by creating the Metro Tunnel, which would take three of the city’s busiest lines through a new underground route. The AUD1bn project includes twin nine-kilometre tunnels, two new entrances, and five new underground stations. Additionally, the new line will run through the densely populated South Yarra and Kensington areas. RIA had to find a way to design and construct the tunnel without affecting thousands of existing buildings or causing major traffic jams.

Tight Spaces Requiring Careful Coordination

RIA wanted to carefully plan the development and construction of the complex project to minimise disruptions to the area. Because they had to work around existing buildings and infrastructure, they needed to determine how to build the project within tight spaces. They began the project by using traditional planning methods, including Gantt charts, 2D models, and 3D models, though they soon determined those methods were not sufficient for this project. They ran into visualisation problems, as charts and static models could not clearly demonstrate the construction sequencing process and ran the risk of creating clashes. Metro Tunnel required high levels of coordination between numerous contractors in an array of disciplines, who would often work in the same area simultaneously. RIA determined they needed 4D construction visualisation to coordinate all team members, ensure quality, and prevent mistakes caused by design changes.

Improving Visualisation with a 4D Model

After examining potential options, RIA determined that Bentley’s interoperable applications could help them visualise the project’s development in 4D during both planning and construction. They began by using ProjectWise to manage all documents and establish a single source of truth for the entire team. Then, they combined all 3D models into a single 4D model in SYNCHRO. By visualising the project’s construction, they can plan how to build in limited spaces as efficiently as possible and avoid interference with existing structures. They also used the application to incorporate specification sheets, safety hazards, traffic management, and machinery movement. SYNCHRO allowed them to automatically assign resources to individual tasks, to determine accurate construction schedules, and to identify and resolve clashes.

Planning Construction Sequences and Eliminating Clashes

The open, connected data environment provided by ProjectWise enabled rapid and secure collaboration between all parts of the joint venture. By using the 4D model in SYNCRHO to simulate construction sequences, RIA detected and resolved numerous errors and clashes, including many that could not be identified through traditional methods. They also used the model to enhance communications between the delivery and planning teams, resolving potential ambiguities and saving time. With clear simulations of the construction process, safety managers were able to prevent on-site accidents. The 4D construction model attracted strong interest from public transportation owners and operators, who are looking to incorporate RIA’s methods into their own projects.

Project Playbook: MicroStation, OpenBuildings Designer, ProjectWise, SYNCHRO 4D, SYNCHRO Field

Outcomes/Facts:

  • The AUD 1 billion Metro Tunnel project will improve rail traffic in Melbourne with twin nine-kilometer tunnels, two new entrances, and five new underground stations.
  • The open, connected data environment provided by ProjectWise enabled rapid and secure collaboration between all parts of the joint venture.

By using the 4D model in SYNCRHO to simulate construction sequences, RIA detected and resolved numerous errors and clashes, including many that could not be identified through traditional methods.

Rail Infrastructure Alliance 4d planner Steven Yavari said the project was significant.

“The RIA project was the first major infrastructure project in Victoria to put a 4D framework into practice, providing a leading-edge example of how digital engineering can be successfully applied to a major project environment,” Yavari said.

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