Delivering smart managed motorways, future proofing corridors, ramp metering, minimal delays during construction, innovative Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) process.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The Victorian Government’s $400 million dollar Monash Freeway Upgrade (MFU) was a huge feat by both civil and intelligent transport systems standards.
The civil upgrade required 30km of additional lanes to reduce congestion between Chadstone and Pakenham in Melbourne’s south east. It included the widening a 15km section of the Monash and Princes Freeways by one lane in each direction and the widening of 16 bridges. Finally, approximately 40km of trunk electrical and communication conduits was installed along with the fabrication, delivery and installation of 74 gantries [bridge-like frames] and the upgrade of a number of freeway entry ramps to ensure more efficient integration of traffic merging onto the freeway.
Central to the upgrade was an extensive Intelligent Transport System (ITS) network that will slash travel times for motorists through improved traffic flow, using the latest smart transport technologies and data. The MFU project motorway is 44km long, making it the longest stretch of managed motorway to ever be completed in one project.
To achieve such a feat, prime civil works contractor Fulton Hogan required a trusted ITS partner that would create certainty for VicRoads and take the ITS delivery to the next level. As such, SAGE Automation were engaged as the ITS delivery partner.
Working from Fulton Hogan’s site office, SAGE designed, tested, integrated and commissioned more than 1200 ITS components. As part of this, 103 control cabinets were designed and manufactured using the highest control system standards at SAGE Automation’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility in South Australia.
A strong working relationship with Fulton Hogan allowed SAGE to deliver the ITS components alongside major civil works upgrade with no impact to delivery schedule.
1. Lane use management system (LUMS) (348 signs): alert people of traffic incidents as they happen
• Improve traffic flow by providing motorists with real-time information in the event of an incident, providing lane use advice to motorists.
2. Control cabinets (103): control all equipment and provide data back to VicRoads TMC
• The cabinets hold newly designed control equipment and are optimised for longevity and ease of maintenance.
3. Traffic detector sites (148): sensors that detect traffic conditions to manage traffic flow
• Above ground traffic sensors (TIRTLs) detect which lanes are in use as well as the number and type of vehicles on the road, and how fast and how close together they’re travelling. Meanwhile, below ground traffic sensors (STUDs) detect traffic at freeway entry and exit points.
4. CCTV cameras (28): provide live traffic surveillance for safety and incident monitoring
5. Freeway ramp signals (16): control the flow of traffic on the freeway, reducing congestion
• Signals installed at key freeway entry points improve traffic flow, reduce stop-start driving conditions, sudden braking and balance traffic entering the freeway.
• First freeway-to-freeway Ramp signal site between EastLink and VicRoads’ freeway network.
6. Variable message signs (VMS) (8): provide live travel time estimates and safety messages
• Give drivers real-time travel information such as travel times based on current traffic flow, accident notifications, road closures, lane closures, public events or safety messages.
All devices are configured to be controlled from VicRoads Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Kew.
In an industry-first approach, SAGE carried out configuration and FAT of all roadside assets prior to field installation. This significantly reduced the on-site effort and shifted workload earlier in the project further reducing risk to timeframe.
• Energising and fully testing the electronic signage on the gantries off-site prior to gantry install. This meant the team could be confident that signs would perform as required prior to POP/SIT/SAT testing.
• Early stage network integration and bench testing. This reduced on-site effort required and shifted risky integration effort earlier in the program of works.
• Pre-wiring of gantry structures off site to reduce the quantum of nightwork, traffic disruptions, and exposure to hazards.
SAGE also adopted a specialised testing database to reduce paperwork and document handling during configuration and testing of a vast number of assets delivered under the Monash Freeway Upgrade (in excess of 1800 test cases).
The end-to-end solution was delivered ahead of schedule, with minimal traffic disruption, using the latest ITS and network technologies.
SAGE’s innovative approach to testing was instrumental in allowing the project to perform accelerated SAT testing, giving VicRoads the option of switching on of the LUMS system early.
• ITS record: The record for the greatest number, and longest span of LUMS ever tested in a single night by VicRoads.
• Data for better traffic flow management: SAGE’s temporary deployment of Addinsight Bluetooth capture stations helped manage traffic flow and travel systems during construction.
• Minimal traffic disruption: Off-site testing and configuration of the 348 LUMS meant that SAGE were able to commission half (174) of these in one night. Testing of this many LUMS would usually take several freeway-closure events over several weeks.
• Early delivery: Testing method delivered the LUMS earlier than promised to the public.
• Increased safety, risk reduction: All gantries were wired off-site to avoid onsite hazards such as working at heights.
• Most sophisticated control in a managed motorway to-date: Roadside control panels were designed and manufactured using the highest control system standards at SAGE Automation’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility in South Australia.
• Client retains full data and control: All devices and data are controlled from VicRoads Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Kew.
The Monash Freeway is one of Melbourne’s busiest transport corridors that can carry up to 200,000 vehicles per day. The smart ITS systems will control the flow of traffic along the freeway, effectively making room for an extra 2000 vehicles per hour during peak traffic.
The managed motorway will reduce travel time and congestion, and improve visibility of road conditions for Melbournian commuters.
SAGE is a VicRoads Prequalified Integrator for all aspects of ITS design, supply and installation.
“As a result of SAGE operating above and beyond the requirements of the contract, the project was able to switch on the Lane Use Management System on the longest continuous stretch of managed motorway in Australia.
The success can be attributed to the experience and competency of staff, professional attributes as a company, along with attention to detail and a streamlined testing process via thorough off-site testing. This significantly reduced disruption to traffic.”
“I was impressed with the quality and attention to detail that SAGE put into their product. The high standard I observed together with feedback from other customers provided me with a high degree of confidence resulting in my approval of the cabinets without field trials.
I found SAGE to be very professional and easy to work with in order to obtain the best outcomes. The high quality I observed in SAGE’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility has clearly been applied to the delivered product.”
“As a major civil construction company, we need to know our ITS partner will deliver the best technologies, on time. SAGE’s innovation around early testing allowed us to deliver major components early – that’s testament to the kind of work they do.
SAGE continues to lift the ITS industry standard with a real focus on future proofing road assets and strengthening major civil construction projects with the best technologies and innovations to improve road user experience.”