Discover how Sydney Water is using a cloud-based scheduling tool to reduce traffic congestion by ensuring road opening and resurfacing is minimised.

Causing angst and frustration for commuters and ratepayers of Sydney, poorly planned underground maintenance projects can result in traffic congestion – only for separate maintenance works to dig up the same location within weeks or months.

With Sydney Water citing an annual water main renewal program of over $50 million, there is a need to better collaborate with the New South Wales (NSW) councils, utilities and agencies, working smarter to plan and share proposed works and coordinate costs, resources and schedules.

Sydney water

Australia’s largest water and wastewater service provider, Sydney Water, delivers water, wastewater and some recycled water services to over five million people across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra, spanning over twelve thousand square kilometres.

The Sydney Water network is made up of 21,000 kilometres of water mains, 24,500 kilometres of sewer mains and 450 kilometres of stormwater channels and pipes.

Sydney Water identified the need to take a new approach to planned works across the region, using unprecedented technology.

The challenge

Currently, councils provide their planned works in an excel or PDF format which makes it hard to overlay Sydney Water’s planned works and requires significant resources to manually check each location for opportunities.

Utilities also only share their planned works as they become state significant projects such as CBD Light Rail or North West Rail Link.

In some situations, roads are resurfaced before the renewal of assets can be identified or planned for construction.

Sydney Water felt that there had to be a better way to use technology to ‘cut to the chase’ and find opportunities to collaborate with other infrastructure providers.

Specifically, they required:

  • A shared tool for capital works management among councils, utilities and agencies to save time, cut costs and reduce
    inconvenience to the community and staff
  • A solution to prevent unnecessary repeat roadworks, underground maintenance or repairs made in the
    same location
  • A central platform of information to visualise planned works across multiple organisations in real-time

The solution

To achieve a large-scale adoption of a capital works tool, Sydney Water approached NSW Streets Opening Coordination Council (SOCC), a voluntary association of utilities dedicated to achieving cooperative and efficient practices associated with street services, to champion a ground-breaking intelligent mapping platform.

Sharing Sydney Water’s vision, SOCC coordinated the development of iWORCSTM, a collective platform to inform and manage capital works, using Esri Australia’s SmarterWX platform.

A pilot online platform was tested. From June 2015 to September 2016, Sydney Water and nine Sydney councils uploaded their work programs to create a central live display of planned works.

During this period, several opportunities were identified and savings were recorded through sharing the cost of road surfacing and better timing of works.

The current iWORCSTM collaboration tool was then custom built in January – February 2017, delivered through a Software as a Service (SaaS) scalable cloud platform powered by SmarterWX.

Councils, utilities and agencies utilise iWORCSTM using simple steps:

  • Each organisation manages their capital works by uploading their project data into iWORCSTM
  • Data is published within the application and instantly becomes viewable by all participating organisations
  • Users can upload data and set exclusion zones – areas where projects cannot occur during a certain period, for example during public events such as a fun run, parade, or community festival
  • The system intuitively identifies works programs occupying the same space and time range as other scheduled projects
  • The system identifies scheduled conflicts and notifies all relevant project owners via an alert, allowing for smoother communication and collaboration between stakeholders

The innovation

iWORCSTM provides a central record of planned works to assist in the future planning, scheduling, and coordination of activities between participating organisations.

Its purpose is to improve collaboration and to minimise the cost and disruption of roadworks, while addressing community concerns over multiple excavations of a road by different project teams.

In a typical scenario for Sydney Water, such as replacing a water main, iWORCSTM may prevent situations where previously large costs were spent to excavate and reinstate a road, soon after the road had been resurfaced for maintenance.

It can also highlight design conflicts of other planned underground works early in the planning process, leading to cost savings.

The outcomes

iWORCSTM presents an opportunity to adopt a best practice approach to capital works management –
which puts community stakeholders first.

Key outcomes from the platform include:

  • Better coordination between underground utility works, avoiding damage to other underground services
  • Minimised impacts of underground utility works on both natural and built environments
  • Minimised interference to traffic and pedestrian flow caused by road openings for the installation, operation and maintenance of utility services
  • Reduced disruption to local communities
  • Reduced duplication of remediation efforts
  • Reduced costs of roadworks
  • Minimised disruption to road users
  • Better quality roads
  • Reduced impact of roadworks on the lifecycle of the road network

Stakeholders from across NSW that have already joined the collaborative platform include:

  • SOCC
  • Sydney Water
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • City of Sydney
  • Wollongong City Council
  • Lane Cove Council
  • Jemena Gas
  • Randwick City Council
  • Georges River Council
  • Canterbury-Bankstown Council
  • Northern Beaches Council

This partner content is brought to you by Esri Australia. For more information visit visit. 

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