GWH Upgrade - Hazelbrook, NSW GWH Upgrade - Hazelbrook, NSW GWH Upgrade - Hazelbrook, NSW GWH Upgrade - Hazelbrook, NSW

GWH Upgrade - Woodford to Hazelbrook, NSW

Project featuring the RECO TerraClass® System.

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General Information

The Great Western Highway has long been a key freight route between Sydney and the central west. With an estimated 24,000 vehicles a day (with approximately 12% being heavy vehicles), it is one of the most utilised roads in the region. The upgrade of the Great Western Highway involved widening the road from two lanes to four lanes between Emu Plains and Katoomba, and providing three lanes from Katoomba to Mount Victoria, with the aim of improving travel times and providing a safer road for all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Reed Constructions were awarded the stage of the upgrade between Hazelbrook and Woodford in 2010 as the main contractor. In March 2012, the Roads and Maritime Services terminated their contract with Reed Constructions due to financial difficulties. Construction works were put on hold until Abigroup was awarded the contract in June 2012 as the new main contractor for the remainder of the project. Works for the stage involved widening the road from two lanes to a four lane divided highway, a new pedestrian bridge connecting Hazelbrook shopping centre to the train station, an off road pedestrian cycle path, a full stormwater system including detention basins, the relocation of services, the construction of multiple service roads, landscaping and a number of large retaining walls.

Reinforced Earths TerraClass® retaining wall system was adopted for a number of the retaining walls on this project. The cruciform shaped panel with horizontal rib and exposed basalt aggregate finish has been used extensively along the highway through the Blue Mountains, making it the obvious choice. The exposed basalt finish allows the substantially sized retaining walls to blend in with the surrounding bush land to some extent, minimising the visual impact of the structure for residents and tourists.

GWH Upgrade - Hazelbrook, NSW


Retaining Solutions scope of works involved the installation of Reinforced Earths TerraClass® system, chimney drains, the spreading & compaction of select backfill material and the management of the select fill stockpile. Retaining Solutions were also engaged to manage the transportation of the precast concrete panels from a holding compound in Lawson to the wall locations. Due to the extremely limited storage space at the construction face, panels could only be transported as they were needed. This required tight management and clear communication between all parties to ensure excess panels in storage areas were kept to a minimum and only panels that were needed immediately were being delivered.

Traffic flow along the highway needed to be maintained throughout construction, and as both sides of the road were bound by the railway track on the South side and housing on the North side, the construction corridor along the project was extremely narrow. This posed a number of challenges for backfilling operations and materials delivery, which were only overcome through continual and effective communication between Retaining Solutions, traffic controllers and the head contractor. The Blue Mountains notoriously fickle weather also provided many challenges, as heavy rainfalls and flooding continually threatened productivity and program.

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Project Specs

  • Application - Highway Road Widening
  • Product - RECO TerraClass® System
  • Finish - Exposed Aggregated
    Horizontal Rib
  • Area - 3457m2
  • Max. Height - 15m
  • Length - 675m
  • Loadings - Traffic Loadings & Crash Barrier
  • Design life - 100 years
  • Owner - Roads and Maritime Services
  • Client - Reed Constructions Australia / Abigroup
  • Construction - 8 months

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