Kempsey Bypass formed the first phase of the 40km Kempsey to Eungai project, which is part of the 146km Pacific highway upgrade that links Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour. The bypass spans 14.5km and links Kempsey to Frederickton.

The project received approval from the Ministry of Planning in July 2008. It is designed to improve road safety and also reduce travel times and road congestion.

Construction of the bypass began in July 2010 and was completed in March 2013, a year ahead of the scheduled completion.

The cost of the entire project was estimated to be $618m. Around 450 people were recruited for the construction of the Kempsey bypass.

Kempsey Bypass project

The Kempsey Bypass involved the construction of a four-lane highway spanning 14.5km, and also the construction of bypass and interchanges at Kempsey and Frederickton.

A new bridge has been built over the Mackleay river and the floodplain of Frogmore. The new bridge is the longest bridge in Australia.

“The bypass spans 14.5km and links Kempsey to Frederickton.”

The project also saw the construction of road overpasses at Old Station Road, Inches Road and Crescent Head Road.

The pavement construction required around 12km of concrete work. The project also involved 2.6 million m³ of earthworks, 1 million m³ of blasting material, 35,000m³ of material crushed and screened, construction of 20km of culvert drainage lines and construction of nine bridge structures.

The nine bridge structures include two spans, 88 pylons to support the bridge and 102 super T-girders. Approximately 6,000m³ of concrete was used for the bridge construction.

The drainage line construction involved the placement of around 16,000m of pipelines.

Construction of the new Kempsey Bypass

Flood prevention activities were initiated in December 2009 and included the construction of levee, raising of 18 houses on the Macleay floodplain, construction of 20 stock mounds and other flood compensatory works.

The main construction began in June 2010 with works such asremoval of vegetation, soil treatment, fencing and erosion control.

The construction works were carried out at the sites of Kempsey, Frederickton, Pola Creek, Maclaey river and the floodplains.

“The project received approval from the Ministry of Planning in July 2008.”

Piling works at the Pola Creek and Inches Bridge were initiated in July / August 2011. The piling works at the South Kempsey Interchange Bridge and Inches Road Bridge began in August 2011.

The construction of Boat Harbour Creek Bridge was initiated in August 2011. The earthworks and drainage installations at the Frederickton Interchange were completed in August 2011. Culverts were installed beneath the highway alignment to let the water flow below the road.

Piling works at the Northern Interchange overpass bridge were initiated in August 2011. The Frederickton boat ramp was shut temporarily to enhance the construction of the Frederickton levee and the new boat ramp.

Bridge construction

The construction of the crane pad for the Maclaey river and floodplain bridge began in June 2011. Construction of two temporary rock platforms on the river commenced later. The first platform ran from the northern bank to the centre of the river and the second platform began at the southern bank of the river. The first platform was removed during the construction of the second platform.

Around 940 T-beams, with a length and depth of 34m and 1,500mm respectively, were used for the construction of the bridge over the Maclaey river. The necessary T-beams were provided by Australian Precast Solutions, which is a part of the Abigroup.

The piling works at the Maclaey river included the drilling of around 70 bored piles to support the bridge. The piling works at the floodplain section were steel tube driven and included more than 340 piles to support the bridge at the floodplain. Geotechnical studies were conducted within the Maclaey river for both Maclaey river and the floodplain.

Lead contractors involved in the Kempsey project

The contract for the design and construction of the 14.5km long four-lane highway was jointly awarded to the Kempsey Alliance, which includes Leighton Contractors, AECOM and Coffey Geotechnics. The project had an estimated cost of $300m.

The $185m contract for the construction and design of the Maclaey bridge was awarded to Abigroup Limited by the RTA.

Financing the project

The project, constructed by the Road Transport Authority of New South Wales, is valued at $618m. The funding for the entire project was provided by the Government of Australia.