Sydney Gateway Project: How Nigel Love Bridge played an essential role in the construction of one of its most complex parts.

In 2014 Sydney Airport awarded Seymour Whyte the contract for a ‘small’ design and construct project that included the delivery of Nigel Love Bridge and its adjoining carpark. Although a relatively small project, it certainly presented its challenges.

Andrew Deck, Sydney Gateway Project Director, was also part of the delivery team for the Nigel Love Bridge project:

“The bridge itself was interesting because of the clearance above the Canal, the clearance below the Airports OLS (obstacle limitation surface) and the span (~ 54m). Challenges ranged from turbulence modelling, land ownership to a hazardous bird colony and a wild goat.”

“Our philosophy was to do whatever we could to help our client out and we had a ‘can do attitude’ – nothing was impossible.”

This positive attitude and remarkable work ethic saw Seymour Whyte and Sydney Airport establish a great relationship leading to Seymour Whyte becoming a contractor of choice for other airport works.

Fast forward 5 years, and Seymour Whyte was shortlisted to tender on the Sydney Gateway Project.

“Our relationship and experience with Sydney Airport all those years ago was so valuable in understanding the constraints of the airport environment. We had worked around the airport’s jet fuel lines, over the Jemena gas main, under the OLS, and over Alexandra Canal – and knew how to sort out turbulence modelling. That $15m job helped tremendously in pursuing a State Significant Project, Sydney Gateway.”

As part of the tender process for Sydney Gateway, one of the biggest challenges was the delivery of one of the bridges over the Alexandra Canal at Mascot.

The challenges included existing infrastructure, tight traffic constraints and a sweeping bend in the carriageway at the widest point of the canal. After exhausting all other engineering options, the only design left on the table included steel bridge girders. Notoriously long and incredibly heavy, no crane in Australia would be able to lift them into place. That’s when the team had a light bulb moment – use Nigel Love Bridge.

After a significant amount of checking (and triple checking) the load-bearing limits, the team moved forward with the idea of manoeuvring the large steel girders into place over Nigel Love Bridge using SPMTs (self-propelled modular transporters).

In 2020, Seymour Whyte was awarded the Sydney Gateway Project in a joint venture with John Holland and the project piloted the first steel girders over Nigel Love Bridge in April 2023. The 60-metre-long girders weighing 600 tonnes were carefully driven over the bridge before straddling the banks of Alexandra Canal as they made their way to their final position.

That $15m job had played a monumental and essential role in constructing one of the most complex parts of Sydney Gateway.

“Never underestimate the importance of the task at hand. Often in life, the big things can’t be done without the small things. Hats off to Nigel Love Bridge and its part in making Sydney Gateway a reality.”