Richard Pidgeon and Andrew Baker

Richard Pidgeon and Andrew Baker

Abstract | Logan Enhancement Project: A collaborative approach to road ecology connectivity

What was the problem/situation?

Transurban Queensland is currently delivering the Logan Enhancement Project which, in late 2016, was approved as Queensland’s first State Government market-led proposal. The project involves widening of the existing Logan and Gateway Extension Motorways, along with interchange upgrades and new local/State connections to deliver a safer, more efficient motorway; relieving congestion, reducing travel times and enhancing road connectivity.

Despite being a critical road network, the project is also situated within the Flinders-Greenbank Karawatha Corridor – a significant bioregional corridor with critical ecological links that have been subject to historical fragmentation from road infrastructure. Addressing the problem of road safety and congestion whilst not only minimising environmental impacts but seeking to improve the current situation of fragmentation required a fresh new approach.

What worked?

The need for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach was recognised, combining traditional engineering solutions, environmental science and leading expertise in road ecology. Wider stakeholder consultation and involvement was critical. In addition to engaging with Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, the project established an Environmental Reference Group (ERG) comprising of members from local catchment groups combined with expertise from Griffith University.

The ERG brought local expertise and knowledge when it was needed the most; helping to shape the planning and design, resulting in leading ecological outcomes for the project and the surrounding bushland. The ERG also showed Transurban Queensland that better outcomes are achieved when a project is given permission to evolve. The result is a design that minimises impacts and contributes to improved habitat connectivity.

What hasn’t worked (…yet!):

The project triggers environmental offsets and a decision is currently pending by the State Government on a proposal to deliver direct local benefits rather than a traditional status-quo offset approach. The proposal also involves delivery of a research programme on the effectiveness of fauna movement on a landscape scale.

Bio | Richard Pidgeon

Richard Pidgeon - Aurecon Logan Enhancement Project Environment and Planning Technical Advisor. Rich is a Principal Environmental Scientist and Advisor with Aurecon in Brisbane. He has a background in ecology and conservation biology and now specialises in client advisory services in the area of environmental management and project approvals within transportation, infrastructure and mining sectors. Rich has gained experience on numerous projects throughout Queensland developing his skills in a range of areas including environmental legislation, approvals and compliance, project business case development, environmental impact studies and project management. Rich has been involved in the Logan Enhancement Project since the development of its concept design and continues to advise on the project through its delivery.

Bio | Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker - Transurban Queensland Logan Enhancement Project - Project Director.