A large infrastructure project always has its complexities and the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal (Skyrail) was no different.
A Challenging Walkway System
When the Skyrail contract was awarded in 2016, one of the project’s hurdles was the need for a platform walkway system along elevated sections of the track for maintenance access and emergency evacuation.
Pre-cast concrete beams on which the trains would run could only sustain a certain weight so every kilogram counted.
Fortunately for Australian guardrail manufacturer Moddex, consultation began early although the contract wasn’t awarded for another two years. They then had just four months to complete it.
Moddex were to supply more than 30 kilometres of handrails along the elevated track and its associated structures.
The walkway system had been discussed early in the project, giving Moddex sufficient time to come up with a solution and to manufacture the guardrails which needed to be either mounted onto a custom fabricated, free-standing structure (which was both expensive and time consuming) or tie into a handrail system.
The option Moddex chose – a combined walkway/handrail system – had with its own challenges. Not only did it need to support the walkway but also meet load requirements.
Moddex was able to solve loading issues by innovating a proprietary, pre-engineered modular system, Tuffrail® – Industrial Handrails and creating a new walkway support bracket.
They developed a bespoke casting which enabled the bracket to fix to their handrail post whilst providing the support and structural strength required for the walkway.
Can it Pass the Safety Test?
During construction, another problem emerged – safety guidelines required an enclosed area on the bridge decks for teams to work inside.
The contractors asked if the Moddex handrail system could be used as the vertical support for hoarding/mesh paneling on the internal walkways. This would need to be fully hoarded with plywood to 1.8m high to meet wind loading standards. This new challenge was overcome by testing the system beyond Moddex’s routine requirements. The load applied at each test point passed, removing the need for temporary scaffolding handrails during construction.
Minimum Clearance is Needed
Lastly, Moddex assisted the project team achieve minimum path clearance in another area of the project between the standard handrail and ‘demarcation rail’ (a rail preventing falls onto the tracks in emergencies). To meet the path clearance, Moddex modified their proprietary AR10 handrail system, supplying a small diameter for the ‘demarcation rail’ and three new fittings to suit.
Moddex was given a small window of only 3-4 months from being awarded the contract to delivery of its walkway system guardrail modular components which was possible thanks to the company’s superior communication and planning systems and processes.
The guardrail system was installed independently by a Lendlease contracting team, which assisted the contractor to meet their project deadlines.
Successful Delivery with Great Communication
Not only did Moddex deliver all the necessary componentry on time but the superior aluminium finish was extruded locally in Melbourne, providing a win for local procurement.
The results were threefold.
- By using aluminium guardrails instead of conventional steel,
critical kilos were saved with a correspondingly positive effect on the
- The lifespan of the guardrails was extended, lengthening the time before
they need to be replaced.
- A custom-designed bracket did away with the need for heavy structural steel underneath the walkway.
By involving Moddex early in the project, utilising their product innovation skills in mounting the walkway to their handrail system, and by using an aluminium fabricated structure, significant time and dollars were saved.
Moddex have been great communicators to all project team members and delivered on time with very little fuss.Lendlease Contract Administrator
Moddex was awarded Best Supplier of the Year in the 2019 ACA Awards.