Building sustainability into our road network transcript


Roads are essential in our lives. They provide vital links which support our lifestyles and economy.

Our road network is carrying more vehicles than ever before.

Building sustainability into our road network is necessary to continue to provide the important benefits of transport while minimizing impacts on our environment and communities.

Building sustainability into our road network means upgrading existing road space and constructing new roadways to improve safety, accessibility, amenity and traffic flows. We do this in ways which use the least natural resources and give the most protection to natural and cultural values.

The best sustainability outcomes for roads projects begin with careful planning.

Integrated land use and transport planning assessments match the transport system to the needs of users.

At the beginning of a road project - be it a new roadway or improvement to the existing network numerous options may be investigated and evaluated through a detailed planning and approvals process. Evaluation continues through the life of a project including maintenance and operation phases to continually improve the network.

Managing our natural resources efficiently is a key element of building sustainability into our road network.

Significant sustainability benefits can be achieved through using recycled construction waste in place of non-renewable quarried stone and sand. Millions of tonnes of recycled asphalt and road base are used in Victoria every year.

Text pop-up: Victoria uses the highest recycled asphalt content in Australia.

These and other recycled products such as greenpipe, guide posts and crushed glass are produced with fewer greenhouse emissions than raw products, conserve our finite resources and divert waste from landfill.

Reductions in power usage and greenhouse gas emissions are benefits of using LED lights for traffic signals and variable speed signage. These are up to 87% more efficient than incandescent lamps. Their improved visibility means safer roads for all users.

Using solar power also reduces running costs and greenhouse emissions. In a world first, solar panels were installed along the top of the Tullamarine-Calder Freeway interchange to offset some of the lighting demand.

Improvements are always occurring to the road network to reduce congestion and stop-start motoring. This lowers fuel usage which is better for drivers and the environment. Using alternative fuels such as biodiesel in construction plant and equipment is another way we can reduce our use of fossil fuels.

New innovative products are continually being trialled. One of these products is warm mix asphalt. It is safer for workers to apply and is produced using a third less energy than conventional asphalt products.

Our projects are waterwise.

Text pop-up: Over 80% of water used for road construction comes from site runoff or recycled sources.

Water resources are managed through an integrated approach on all road projects. We conserve drinking water by using wastewater from industry and collecting rainwater from our sites. We protect our precious water resources by controlling erosion and sediment runoff, preventing contamination and progressively rehabilitating disturbed areas. Water-sensitive design elements such as swales and wetlands constructed along roadsides remove pollutants and sediment from roadway runoff to protect waterways which support aquatic communities and threatened species.

Many species that were once widespread and common are now vulnerable to extinction. Plains grasslands, found on many of our roadsides, are among Australia’s most endangered vegetation types.

Text pop-up: Approximately 44% of Victoria’s native plants and 30% of our native animals are now extinct or threatened.

Road projects are developed to avoid and minimise potential impacts on ecological values. The presence of significant species may result in road realignment or the relocation of plants or animals to new homes. Bridges, tunnels or fencing may be built to protect Victoria’s biodiversity.

All road projects must be managed so that overall biodiversity gains exceed losses.

Building a sustainable road network includes providing for community needs and expectations such as safety and accessibility for all users. The amenity of our communities is enhanced through diverse and interesting artwork and landscaping and the valuable native vegetation of our roadsides. Noise walls are integrated into our landscape through innovative urban design.

Amenity for communities during road construction involves ensuring that safe access remains for road users as well as construction workers, and that dust and noise from construction plant is managed to minimise disturbance on local communities.

Australia has a unique cultural setting. We are considered to be one of the youngest countries in the world, and yet on the other hand, are home to the oldest living indigenous culture on the planet.

Text pop-up: There are over 200 listed heritage bridges and over 1,000 Aboriginal heritage sites on Victoria’s arterial road network.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage tells the story of our shared history and connection to this land. Working with our stakeholders to recognise, manage and interpret these heritage values during road planning and construction enables us to preserve these stories for future generations.

Building sustainability into the road network provides important benefits to the whole community.

The road construction industry is working together in applying and advancing sustainable practices in road projects ….. for us and for our future.

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