Silver Wolf Projects – Engineering the new CBD

SWP is helping to build a more user-friendly city, engineering the relocation of light poles to make way for Sydney’s CBD light rail, cycleways, and bus lanes. If you went into Sydney’s CBD this morning and thought a light pole had magically vanished, you’re not imagining things. Every smart pole housing traffic and street lights in George Street and the immediate surrounds is being shifted, one by one, in preparation for the arrival of the CBD Light Rail system, new bus lanes and cycleways. It’s a mammoth task and since the project’s inception in July, about thirty poles have been successfully relocated, with a further seventy-plus still to be moved before the end of the year.

Engineering consultancy experts Silver Wolf Projects (SWP) are working in partnership with the Sydney CBD Alliance to provide on-call engineering and design services for the new concrete footings for each smart pole, enabling a swift and safe relocation process.
According to SWP Principal Engineer Deniz Bekir, the relocation of the smart poles is far from straightforward, with every footing requiring individual engineering solutions to overcome the particular challenges of its location.

‘The challenge is that the city is riddled with existing services,’ Deniz says. ‘We’re unearthing fibre-optic conduits, data tunnels and other underground services. There are old pedestrian underpasses; pipes and chambers under there, and we’ve also encountered unknown artefacts that needed to be dealt with.

‘All the secrets of the city are buried and we’re ducking and dodging them as we try to move these poles around.’ Above ground, things are no easier. ‘We’re working around existing services and geometrical constraints such as footpaths and shop awnings. So each footing has to be specifically designed to accommodate these constraints, both above ground and underground.’ Smartpoles are integral to the daily functioning of the city; housing traffic lights, street lights, CCTV, signage and cellular network infrastructure – everything that enables the seamless movement of pedestrians and traffic throughout the city. Each pole needs to be transitioned from its old home to its new one in one go, often overnight, and be reconnected and switched on again as soon as possible. ‘We design and prepare the new footing, then the construction team does a night-shift switchover. So you never lose the pole itself, it’s just literally pulled off and moved to the next footing.’

Deniz says the CBD project has followed on from a successful partnering with Lend Lease in the construction of the M5 West, where SWP provided engineering and design support for noise barriers, light poles, footings and other temporary structures. ‘Our responsive, innovative approach and fast turnaround times guarantee reliability and precision, particularly on projects where speed and reduced disruption are paramount,’ Deniz says. ‘We are able to receive instructions immediately and act upon with a two-day turnaround, and our response is seven days a week.’

‘We’re working hand-in-hand with the Sydney CBD Alliance, producing smart pole footings that are viable from an engineering perspective, practical from a construction perspective, cost-effective, and structurally sound. And we’re doing it in a very short timeframe.’
There’s little doubt that the Sydney CBD Light Rail project will radically alter the CBD in terms of both accessibility and aesthetics. ‘SWP are pleased to be lending our expertise to such a defining project,’ Deniz says.

Some project facts:

  • More than 100 smart poles in the CBD are being relocated, creating space for the CBD light rail as well as dedicated bus lanes and cycleways
  • Streets affected include George Street, Pitt Street, Castlereagh Street and Liverpool Street
  • Once a new footing is prepared, the pole is transitioned overnight and back in service ASAP
  • Each pole has to be moved individually
  • Construction of the light rail line will commence in March 2016
  • According to RMS, 3300 people commute daily to the CBD by bicycle
  • The Sydney Light Rail system is expected to move up to 9000 people per hour in each direction through the city centre.

For more information about the Sydney CBD smartpole relocation project, contact Deniz Bekir at Silver Wolf Projects on 02 9358 2263 or contact us.

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