It’s what’s under the surface

Principal: Mackay Regional Council
Contractor: Vassallo Constructions
Consultant: Aurecon

In a classic example of not knowing what you’re going to get until you start digging, Vassallo Constructions, who were tasked, among other things, with the drainage component of the Mackay City Centre Revitalisation project, have had to deal with a number of complexities in the $18m venture intended to cement Mackay as a destination of choice.

The revitalisation project is a 50-50 joint venture funded by the Australian Government and Mackay Regional Council and, in addition to beautification initiatives such as street furniture, landscaping, lighting and public art, involves a significant underground and surface stormwater drainage upgrade.

Chris Andersen, Project Manager for Vassallo Constructions, says Mackay’s old infrastructure has presented a few challenges.

“Currently in place is an old 600mm hand-laid brick arch pipe which runs down the centre of Wood St and is up to 100 years old,” he says. “We’re now duplicating that system on a different alignment, installing a 1200mm rubber ring joint reinforced concrete pipe ranging from 3.8m – 2.2m in depth. But before we could install the new line, the existing watermain, which runs right in the alignment of the new drainage line, had to be replaced on a new alignment. Then we also had to relocate and upgrade all the existing street lighting because it was located where the new watermain was going!”

The complexities of the project meant using a reliable, quality product from a trusted supplier was paramount. “Rocla’s product has always been a good product – their quality is always spot on,” said Chris.

Jim Carless, Project Manager of the City Centre Revitalisation Project for the Mackay Regional Council says the new trunk drainage line,
designed by engineering consultants Aurecon, provides for greater underground stormwater capacity taking it from the current Q2 rating up to Q5. “It supplements the existing stormwater system, and ultimately will replace the clay brick constructed drain which services large portions of the city centre out to the river. It’s still operable and will still be used, but ultimately the new
1200 line will futureproof it.”

Once the underground civil works are complete, the city centre will have a robust, safe and sustainable base for the beautification aspects of the project which will eventually extend as far as historic building restoration, improving building facades and working with local businesses to promote the region.

“The relationship with Rocla is all about the technical support, the people we are in contact with and also the convenience. We were able to have the pipes delivered to a location suitable to us to avoid double handling. It’s all about convenience.”

Jim Carless, Project Manager, Mackay Regional Council – City Centre Revitalisation Project

The figures:

  • 33m of 1500mm x 750mm Rocla® reinforced concrete box culverts
  • 138 x 1200mm dia rubber ring joint Rocla® reinforced concrete pipes (class 2 and 3)
  • 88 x 375mm dia Rocla® reinforced concrete pipes
  • 20 x 900mm x 600mm Rocla® reinforced concrete box culverts

For more information about the project visit: