2020 kicked off with extreme weather events that presented numerous challenges and hazards for the infrastructure industry, and the whole country. Then, as we were beginning to recover, most of the world was brought to a grinding halt by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw many people working and studying from home, industries like aviation facing major staff cuts due to stringent travel restrictions, and construction progress slowing from social distancing and other safety requirements. 

However, despite these unprecedented challenges, there were achievements to be celebrated in the industry, with projects being fast-tracked for economic recovery and long-awaited projects like the NorthConnex tunnels opening to the public.

Here, we take a look at the top five most-read news stories of 2020 from the Infrastructure website.

  1. Delivering NorthConnex: M1 and M2’s ‘missing link’

The New South Wales and Federal Governments partnered with Transurban to deliver the $3 billion NorthConnex project, dubbed the ‘missing link’, which would connect the M1 and M2 motorways in Sydney’s north via twin 9km tunnels.

Lendlease Bouygues Joint Venture  construction work in 2015 to allow more than 100,000 vehicles a day to travel on the tunnels, saving motorists around 15 minutes travel time. The project officially opened in late 2020. This article took a deeper look at the tunnel construction and featured videos of the spoil removal process and construction animation.  

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on the infrastructure sector

By March the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were beginning to be felt in Australia, and the world, with countries going into lockdown, positive diagnoses increasing, and major shocks to economies. In this continually updated news article, Infrastructure examined some of the economic impacts as they were unfolding, and took  a closer look at how the pandemic was specifically affecting the infrastructure industry.

  1. First look at NorthConnex tunnels

NorthConnex was a popular project for Infrastructure readers, with another news article on the project making the Top 5 stories. In October, we got our first look at the new NorthConnex tunnels when the New South Wales Government released eight driver-experience videos, giving drivers a birds-eye view of the congestion-busting benefits of the tunnels.

Drone and dash cam vision was used in the videos to simulate the journeys drivers could expect upon the opening of the tunnels. 

  1. Pacific Highway upgrade nears completion

October also saw the final section of road paving completed on the 20-year, $15 billion, 40,000 worker Pacific Highway upgrade – Australia’s biggest regional road project.

The 8km section between Wells Crossing and Glenugie was then completed in December, bringing the duplication a further step closer to completion, with works expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

  1. PM commits $1.5 billion to infrastructure including fast-tracking 15 major projects

In June, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced a whopping $1.5 billion commitment to priority infrastructure projects as part of the Federal Government’s JobMaker plan.

As part of this plan, the Federal Government announced it would fast-track investment in critical infrastructure projects including Inland Rail; the Marinus Link; the Olympic Dam extension; NSW emergency town water projects; and road, rail and iron ore projects in Western Australia.

$1 billion would be allocated to priority projects which were shovel-ready, with $500 million reserved for road safety works targeting areas across the country, not only in rural and regional areas.

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