We have delayed our February report so that we can provide a detailed update on the $1.6billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Project which has made headlines, both good & bad, over the last month.
Firstly, although the project was originally anticipated to be completed in late 2018, there has now been a significant delay to construction, possibly between 4 and 7 months. In the middle of February Nexus Infrastructure flagged additional work was required citing complex geological issues under an embankment at Ballard were to blame. In a statement provided to the Toowoomba Chronicle they advised that the project is progressing well overall but they would have to change the construction method and building the foundation of the embankment from a deeper level in this location. As a result, extensive additional earthworks are now required in a small section of the project. Nexus commented that “All other scheduled activities for the project are progressing well and will continue as planned.”
Unfortunately Nexus also made headlines this month over some safety concerns at the site. The Queensland government is taking firm action and instigated an urgent meeting with Nexus Infrastructure. Industrial Relations Minister Ms Grace and Transport and Main Roads Minister Mr Bailey met with senior representatives of the principal contractor.
Ms Grace commented that they are deeply concerned about the abnormally high number of Workplace Health and Safety investigations and incidents that have occurred at the site. The Queensland Government wanted to stress that the safety of workers must come first and that the number of incidents involving plant rollovers is unacceptable and demands immediate action.
WHSQ has made more than 200 visits to the TSRC site and issued 87 notices for health and safety breaches, including one infringement notice worth $3600, since the project began almost two years ago. To date, there have been 17 plant rollovers on site.
Mr Bailey advised that an independent auditor has been appointed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to investigate safety concerns at the site.
To Nexus credit The company embraced the safety audit announced by Minister Bailey and agreed to accept and implement its recommendations”.
The Audit is currently underway however an interim report has been handed to the State Government in mid march.
Despite all this going on in the background the amazing engineering marvel is starting to take shape. We are proud to show you some footage of the contruction. You will note the monsterous viaduct is starting to form. The viaduct is a long bridge comprising of a series of smaller bridges that are connected to one another and structurally supported by arches or sturdy platforms between two end towers. It is being constructed along the escarpment between Wallens Rd at Ballard and the New England Hwy, using 5000 tonnes of reinforcement and 26,000 cubic metres of concrete.
Whist it sounds like a normal bridge job it is incredible to note that it is being built on the side of the Toowoomba range with some of these “Super Ts” up to 38 meters long, weighing up to 90 tonnes each!
As we fly over Mount Kynoch we can see that the arch bridges are nearing completion, located to the west of the New England Highway.
TSRC project director Jose Antonio Sanchez said the New England Highway dual lane bridges would not only be visually spectacular, but also another major engineering accomplishment. The arch bridges will extend for 70m and stand 30m above the bypass that will travel under the New England Highway here at Mount Kynoch.
Whilst we are really enjoying showing you the upcoming bypass we do need to report on the sales and rental fields at RE/MAX Success. In terms of sales, our office has secured 29 contracts throughout February with a noticeable contraction in good value properties hitting the market, particularly eastside. Our office has bucked this trend slightly by listing another 31 properties fresh to the market.
As we turn our attention to the rental market in Toowoomba, in February alone RE/MAX Success serviced 2,548 unique tenant enquiries, conducted 433 property inspections, processed 233 tenancy applications and secured 46 new tenancies. Our vacancy rate as at the 28th of February remains significantly lower than the average in our area.
On behalf of the Daniel Burrett Team, thank you for watching, we look forward to keeping you updated over the years.