Seymour Whyte is getting on with Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road Upgrade Project, south-east of Melbourne.

In another significant win, Seymour Whyte secured the Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road Upgrade Project under an Incentivised Target Cost contract with Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV).

The contract agreement allows for extensive collaboration with MRPV and supports better project outcomes for the 10 km road duplication project, south-east of Melbourne.

Seymour Whyte will build the southern 5km of the upgrade from Ellett Road to Manks Road with another construction partner assigned to the northern 5km between Princes Freeway and Ellett Road.

John Kirkwood, Seymour Whyte Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said he was pleased to have been entrusted by MRPV to deliver this vital upgrade, improve safety, alleviate traffic congestion, and provide a key north-south connection between Princes Freeway and South Gippsland Highway.

Mr Kirkwood said, “Our teams are highly skilled in delivering road upgrades in ecologically sensitive environments with nationally significant flora and fauna.”

“In line with our environmental ambition – to act for the climate, optimise resources and preserve natural environments – we will work closely with all stakeholders to protect and improve the natural environment along the route; and safely deliver this upgrade for thousands of vehicles travelling on this road every day.”

The project involves a 5km road duplication in Pakenham South, south-east of Melbourne. The scope includes:

  • construction new south and northbound carriageways
  • intersection upgrades
  • safety barrier installation
  • a 5.4km shared user path
  • 23 fauna underpasses to provide safe habitat connectivity for endangered species such as Southern Brown Bandicoot and Growling Grass Frog.

Seymour Whyte’s General Manager for Victoria, Southern Australia and Tasmania, Courtney Hoops, said minimising the impact of construction on the local environment and safety outcomes are a key focus on this project.

Mr Hoops said, “We will leverage from our experience in delivering major projects in Victoria, use existing industry relationships to ensure a reliable delivery strategy, and provide new starters opportunities to the company and industry. The project will employ around 40% of its team as new staff and have committed to 10% of the total labour hour allocation towards training apprentices, trainees and cadets, building much-needed skills within the industry.”

“We have a strong team in place. We have worked closely with MRPV and construction partner (upgrading the northern section between Princes Freeway and Ellett Road) during the development phase to develop designs and a construction program with innovative solutions to building in a sensitive environment,” he said.

Some environmental initiatives to reduce impact and protect the endangered species include:

  • building frog ponds to form an ecological link, varying-width fauna underpasses, including creek bridges and drainage culverts; to protect federally listed endangered species
  • installing fauna fencing to guide species into the fauna underpasses to facilitate continuous movement for the endangered fauna throughout the landscape
  • actively monitoring construction activities for their presence, provide workers awareness training to protect all wildlife and required actions if wildlife enters construction zone.

We will implement a range of onsite mitigation measures and controls to protect flora and fauna species within the project area from works on known habitats during construction. These measures include using qualified ecologists and wildlife careers to handle fauna species found on site and setting up ‘no-go’ fencing across the area to protect sensitive flora and fauna.

The project environmental sustainability management plans will involve recycling asphalt, concrete and vegetation removed (mulching for reuse in the landscape or using logs/hollows for their habitat values) and treating and managing dirty water to protect all downstream aquatic values.

The upgrade will improve travel times, slash congestion and boost safety along Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road for more than 21,000 vehicles and heavy vehicles that rely on this key route each day.

Following early enabling works, construction started in January 2022 and will take approximately three years to complete.