Melbourne’s much anticipated Monash Freeway Upgrade is under construction and SAGE Automation is delivering a key component – the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) that will help slash travel times for motorists.
Once completed the 44km stretch of road will join existing infrastructure to make Australia’s longest managed motorway system: all the way from Geelong to Pakenham.
Civil construction company Fulton Hogan is the key delivery partner of the Victorian Government’s $400 million dollar upgrade, which includes 30 kilometres of additional lanes to reduce congestion between Chadstone and Pakenham.
The Monash Freeway Upgrade is part of the $5.5 billion dollar Western Distributor Project.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the project meant a safer, less congested Monash. “Our project will widen the Monash to slash travel times by 10 minutes for more than 200,000 commuters every day and create 400 jobs,” he said.
Fulton Hogan project director Tony Carecos said the company was pleased to be selected by Transurban, VicRoads and the Victorian Government to upgrade one of Melbourne’s busiest roads.
“We believe we’ve chosen the best people and technology to work with us to deliver the upgrade,” Mr Carecos said.
“The project includes widening a 15km section of the Monash and Princes Freeways by one lane in each direction and the widening of 16 bridges.
“ITS works include the installation of approximately 90km of electrical and communication conduits, the fabrication, delivery and installation of 72 gantries [bridge-like frames] and the upgrade of a number of freeway entry ramps to ensure more efficient integration of traffic coming onto the freeway.”
Reducing travel times using intelligent transport technology
Smart sensors and signal systems will control the flow of traffic along the freeway, effectively making room for an extra 2000 vehicles during peak traffic.
A consistent, steady flow of traffic (rather than ‘stop start’ traffic) allows vehicles to move smoothly and make more room on the freeway. This steady pace also decreases overall travel time.
Traffic flow is controlled and monitored through traffic sensors that feed real-time traffic data into a complex algorithm which in turn controls the traffic allowed onto the freeway via freeway ramp signals. Lane use management signs and variable message signs communicate other travel advice to commuters. All devices are controlled from VicRoads Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Kew.
Other features of the intelligent transport system include:
- Lane use management signs (348): alert people of traffic incidents as they happen
- improve traffic flow by providing motorists with real-time information in the event of an incident
- provide lane use advice to motorists.
- Control cabinets (112): 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.
- Traffic detector sites (144): sensors that detect traffic conditions to manage traffic flow
- above ground traffic sensors (TIRTLs) detect the number and type of vehicles on the road, and how fast and how close together they’re travelling. They can also detect which lanes are in use
- below ground traffic sensors (STUDs) detect traffic at freeway entry and exit points.
- CCTV cameras (26): provide live traffic surveillance for safety and incident monitoring
- 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
- signals remain inactive during off-peak times.
- Variable message signs (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.
SAGE: delivering ITS for more than 10 years
Paul Markwick, General Manager, SAGE Automation Victoria said Fulton Hogan selected SAGE to deliver the ITS component largely due to its fresh approach.
"We're not locked into a system or tied to a historic way of doing things," Mr Markwick said.
"We're building on the rich history of SAGE's infrastructure capability. We want to take the best [technology and resources] available and meet the standards but exceed the expectations."
SAGE Automation is a major provider of ITS technologies and is running projects in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
All cabinets and control panels will be built and tested by SAGE Automation’s Manufacture facility, set to relocate to Tonsley Innovation Precinct mid-2017, while the devices will be developed and tested at a Victorian site before being installed along the freeway.
Fulton Hogan and SAGE Automation are working in collaboration to deliver the fast-tracked upgrade, due for completion in late 2018.