Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward MP has commended the Illawarra Roads and Maritime Services team on their recognition for excellence in road safety engineering for the rockfall protection barrier on Bulli Pass.

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) awarded the Illawarra team ‘Excellence in Road Safety Engineering’ during the 2017 Engineering Excellence Gala Dinner.

“Congratulations are in order for Roads and Maritime Services Area Manager Robyn Lyster and her team who oversaw the New South Wales Government–funded $5 million project designed to improve motorist safety. Workers toiled around the clock on the project and this award is recognition for their effort,” said Mr Ward.

“I know this project was a controversial one, but it was an investment that will save lives. I know how proud the Roads and Maritime Services team are of their work. We can be proud of the quality and commitment they have shown. As a region, we can be proud that this challenging work has been recognised with this award.

“The result is Australia’s longest flexible protection barrier – a 1.1 kilometre fence that is 3.5 metres high and capable of containing a half-tonne rock travelling at 160 km/h.”

“The award is great news for the Illawarra community who can be assured of the quality of the protection barrier and their safety when travelling through the Pass,” Area Manager Robyn Lyster said.

“In 2015, we had a serious landslide and rockfall that saw material land on a couple’s vehicle as they drove to work. This wasn’t the first time rockfall had occurred, but this event highlighted how unsafe the Bulli Pass slope could be to motorists.

“We conducted several investigations and partnered with specialist geotechnical engineers and a leading Swiss landslide and rockfall barrier manufacturer to develop a solution.

The barrier was built between 2015 and 2017. Despite challenges and major disruptions, Roads and Maritime Services completed the work one week ahead of schedule due to the closure of Bulli Pass, favourable weather conditions and the dedication of staff to the project.

Roads and Maritime Services will continue to investigate and assess the need for further safety measures as part of the long-term management of Bulli Pass.

For more information on this project visit the Roads and Maritime Services website at www.rms.nsw.gov.au.