One of the most heavily trafficked routes in Australia is the Pacific Highway
between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Traffic using that section of the Pacific
Highway has increased more rapidly than on any other highway in Australia,
quadrupling since the road was built in the 1960s.
To address the problem of the increasing strain of south-east Queensland’s
transport infrastructure, the Queensland State Government has developed an
Integrated Regional Transport Plan for the region.
Part of this plan is
to upgrade the Pacific Highway to an eight and six-lane Motorway between Logan,
just south of Brisbane, and Nerang, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. A Queensland
Department of Main Roads project, it is the largest road project ever undertaken
in Queensland and is to be completed by September 2000.
For construction purposes, the 43km Motorway project has been divided into six
sections with contracts awarded to a variety of engineering firms. The highest
value contract - $120 million - was awarded as a joint venture to John Holland
Construction/Barclay Mowlem Pty Ltd for eight lanes for the section Logan to
Stapylton, a distance of 7.4km, due for completion in March 2000.
Integral to construction of this section of the Motorway, is the use by the John
Holland/Barclay Mowlem Surveying Department of 4D Model (later renamed 12d
Robert Smith, the surveyor primarily responsible for
running the computing operations of the joint venture’s Surveying Department,
has developed an application based on 4D Model which, he explained, "allows me
to manipulate the huge amounts of data involved to create the individual layers
which make up the road and extract various quantities out of it".
application involves taking the initial output, received as design files and
natural surface files, from Queensland Main Roads and, using 4D, to convert this
data into what he describes as "useful 4D data sets". Robert then creates cross
sections on various alignments and applies 4D Model’s boxing or template
functions to create various layers which are then triangulated.
volumes of various materials used in the different layers which comprise
construction of a road - from the embankment layer through the various layers of
gravel on top of that, to the paving and bitumen components - are then
calculated in order to determine the quantity for payment purposes on completion
of the work.
The design files are also used concurrently with traditional
plans to aid the construction process. Macros are used to create files for “TP
SETOUT” software, run by the field surveyors in their HP 200 palm top computers.
From data in the natural surface file and survey data collected by site
surveyors, further 'layers', such as existing ground, existing underground
services, are created in data sets to aid the construction process. This means
potential clashes between the profiled string and services, such as telephone
lines, electricity cables, gas lines and drainage and water pipes, are easy to
detect. In a further step, an existing ground model is triangulated for future
Triangulation has options to calculate surface area,
depth contours (isopachs) and the intersection of triangulations, and options
for slope, aspect and viewshed analysis. Colour coding can be used for the slope
and aspect analyses.
The advantage of using 4D Model, Robert says, is that in the manipulation of all
the data the 'layering' steps entail, "4D lets us run unlimited data sets and
points and it's very fast at running volumes".
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He says 4D Model's
boxing, template and volume computations have "made the job a lot easier and
faster, and its interactive capabilities provide immediate feedback at every
stage. It is also easy to use," he added.