Building bridges

Building bridges

Last week saw a major announcement for the Pacific Complete project team, with Roads and Maritime Services awarding a new bridge contract to build 23 bridges on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade.

Giamma Gentile, Pacific Complete’s bridge lead, was bought onto the project in 2015 and is responsible for managing the integration of design, procurement and major work on about 170 bridges required for the 155 kilometre upgrade.

We spoke to Giamma about the importance of good bridge building, the smart solutions Pacific Complete has designed, and the enormous skills he brings to the project and shares with local contractors. 

“Many upgrades have a few bridges but they are vitally important for this project with bridges being built at more than 100 locations over flood plains, creeks and rivers including the major bridges crossing of the Clarence and Richmond rivers,” he says.

“Challenge and innovation is also an important part of this project, enabling the team to look at a problem and come up with the most effective solution for the project. A good example of this is the increase in the number and length of waterway openings using bridges instead of culverts which will improve the flow of flood water away from urban centres and agricultural land.”

“The procurement strategy also means we are using a wider pool of contractors and suppliers which is key to the successful timely delivery of the project.

At the start of April, Giamma shared his passion with students participating in the University of Newcastle’s Science and Engineering challenge (run in conjunction with Woolgoolga High School and Rotary Club of Woolgoolga) for high school students. 

“It was a great opportunity for the Woolgoolga to Ballina project team and the wider Pacific Highway upgrade team to inspire kids to consider a future career in science and engineering. The passion and determination they showed through the competition was inspiring,” Giamma said. 

“I believe in our everyday job we need to meet or exceed expectations in any task we carry out. I also think it is very important to remind ourselves how important the delivery of this project is for a variety of stakeholders.”

Giamma was a key member of the collaborative Roads and Maritime Services and Pacific Complete team which designed the winged plank that will be used extensively on the project.

The other members of the team who Giamma worked with on this fantastic innovation were Michael Bulmer for Pacific Highway Office Technical Review and engineering colleagues Rajanthi Ravindra, Da Huang, Stephen Burkitt, Robert Taylor and Nell Hardy.

“Working with Roads and Maritime Services Bridge Engineering team was a fantastic opportunity to tap into their many years of experience and skills to put together a great outcome that will make a difference for this project and potentially others in the future,” Giamma said.

The planks improve safety and save money, and about 2300 of the innovative winged planks will be used to build more than 100 bridges for the upgrade. 

Building bridges