Lawrence Hargrave Drive Bridge - Engineers Explain All at Sydney Uni

6 April 2006

Lawrence Hargrave Drive is a spectacular section of coast road just north of Wollongong. It has had a long history of closures due to geotechnical instability. Community disruption as a result has been a feature of life in the vicinity. In August 2003 the Minister for Roads announced that the road would be closed for two and a half years to enable a safe, permanent solution to be constructed. Not only was the time-frame almost impossibly short, but the technical challenges were daunting. The environment is one of the most aggressive one could contemplate.

The Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW forged an alliance: the LHD Alliance between RTA, Barclay Mowlem Construction Limited, Maunsell Australia and Coffey Geosciences to undertake the project. Its completion earlier than planned is testament to the unique combination of skills that the partners brought to the alliance.

Leading engineers gave exciting and informative presentations on this engineering masterpiece to a packed audience in the Civil Engineering Lecture Theatre this week. The audience consisted of over 50 professional infrastructure planners, consulting engineers, construction contractors and concrete technologists; while Associate Professor Rob Wheen brought along his entire class of final year students from his Bridge Engineering class.

A/Prof Wheen said "The four speakers presented an extremely well rounded view of the whole project. The point was clearly made that they had started with a blank sheet of paper, without preconceptions, and each of the team members brought their special skills to the delivery of an outstanding result. I was delighted with the evening and was especially proud of my students who joined in questioning the speakers with some penetrating and thoughtful questions."

Without doubt the Sea Cliff Bridge, as it is now known, offers a permanent solution as promised by the Minister. It will serve the local community and be a tourist attraction far into the future.

Lawrence Hargrave Bridge
Lawrence Hargrave Bridge