Australia’s greenest road

February 10, 2022

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Waste Management Review spoke to Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy about the sustainability outcomes of the recently completed Mordialloc Freeway.

Alex Fraser’s supply of sustainable construction materials has helped to enable the early completion of one of Melbourne’s major domestic road projects, the Mordialloc Freeway.

As one of Melbourne’s oldest companies, Alex Fraser has long innovated recycling to become the construction industry’s go-to provider for sustainable civil construction materials.

Its network of Sustainable Supply Hubs surround Melbourne, with major facilities in Laverton, Epping, Dandenong and Clarinda, supporting its capability to supply the Mordialloc Freeway project with the most sustainable civil construction materials available, on time and at scale.

Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser Managing Director, says the company’s commitment to quality road construction with greener outcomes paved the way for the project’s success.

“When McConnell Dowell and Decmil were tendering for the project, they made it very clear that their client – the Victorian Government – wanted to achieve the best sustainability outcomes possible, to achieve the greenest freeway in the country,” he says.

“It was something we were very confident that we could deliver.”

The Mordialloc Freeway project is one of many major projects across Victoria with an increased focus on the use of recycled and sustainable products. Peter says this has been supported through legislation introduced by the state government.

“The Victorian Government’s Recycled First policy calls on government and industry to prioritise the use of recycled materials. Customers are now prioritising the use of locally sourced, recycled materials,” he says.

Peter says that Alex Fraser worked closely with McConnell Dowell and Decmil (MCDDJV) to maximise the sustainability outcomes of the Mordialloc Freeway project.

“Our people worked closely with MCDDJV’s project managers to innovate and improve sustainability on the ‘Mordi’. A great example of this collaboration is when we found a way to substitute around 80,000 tonnes of 20SS asphalt with a comparable green roads asphalt mix containing 40 per cent recycled content. This markedly increased the use of recycled material in the road and reduced CO2, with no compromise on quality.”

Peter says it was most rewarding when this sustainability improvement was recognised by the Department of Transport, which updated the specification (VicRoads 407) accordingly – “paving the way for greener roads throughout Melbourne.”

“Every month we would give MCDDJV updates on the outcomes they had achieved through the use of green roads materials,” Peter says.

“This included the number of tonnes diverted from landfill, the number of glass bottles recycled in the road, the reduction in truck traffic and carbon savings achieved.”

In total, Alex Fraser supplied 351,179 tonnes of its green roads materials, including asphalt and roadbase, to the Mordialloc Freeway. This resulted in the diversion of 249,739 tonnes from landfill, and the re-use of almost 205 million glass bottles as Recycled Glass Sand, recovered from Melburnians’ yellow wheelie bins.

Peter says sustainability was not the only outcome under the spotlight.

“One of the most important outcomes for our client was to achieve an outstanding ride quality for commuters,” he says

“I’m proud to say our asphalt crews rose to the challenge and delivered one of the smoothest pavements we’ve seen. This is a result of their commitment to quality workmanship.”

Alex Fraser’s crews used a proven pavement process for the project, where two pavers are continuously fed hot asphalt by a single shuttle buggy, and work in unison to seamlessly pave multiple lanes.

“The results speak for themselves,” Peter says. “When motorists drive on this freeway they will experience one of Melbourne’s smoothest rides, and a pavement quality that has surpassed all expectations.”

By choosing Green Roads products on the Mordialloc Freeway, almost 250,000 tonnes were diverted from landfill.

Local content

Another important aspect of the project was the procurement of locally sourced products and services, which Alex Fraser’s metropolitan production network delivered.

Peter says having facilities within a stone’s throw of the freeway site directly increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

“Our Clarinda Recycling Facility was on the project’s doorstep, and our Dandenong Asphalt Plant was just a few minutes away. This made it easier to adapt to the changing needs of the project, and helped ensure a reliable, on-time supply, while reducing truck traffic and associated emissions,” he says.

Due to the density savings achieved by using recycled roadbase, the number of truck movements required to supply the project was reduced by 572 trucks (when compared with truck movements required to cart the equivalent in quarried products).

In total, more than 158,171 tonnes of green roads asphalt and 193,008 tonnes of green roads roadbase were used in the project, offering carbon savings of up to 65 per cent.

Peter says the considerable demand for material to the project required a supplier who could deliver a reliable supply of quality products at large volumes, and enable the sustainability outcomes expected.

He says Alex Fraser delivered on this promise; recycling more than 249,739 tonnes of material for re-use in the project, diverting it from landfill.

“Projects like the Mordialloc Freeway call for massive volumes on very tight timelines. This is where Alex Fraser works very hard,” he says.

With a network of sites around Melbourne and Brisbane, Alex Fraser has the capacity to deliver, but Peter says efficient scheduling of resources
is key.

“Our customers are working in very dynamic environments; our people work very closely with them, and conduct a huge amount of planning to ensure we hit their tight project timelines,” he says.

“I think the Mordialloc Freeway is a prime example our industry should look to when planning for the future. This nine-kilometre stretch is a demonstration of what can be achieved through collaboration and an unwavering focus on quality and sustainability.

“The ‘Mordi’ might not only be Melbourne’s greenest road, but its best road.”

For more information, visit: www.alexfraser.com.au