‘Controversial’ Bulli Pass rockfall fence project wins award

ACCOLADE: The Roads and Maritime Services team behind the new 1.1km rockfall fence on Bulli Pass have won an engineering award for their work. Picture: Robert Peet
ACCOLADE: The Roads and Maritime Services team behind the new 1.1km rockfall fence on Bulli Pass have won an engineering award for their work. Picture: Robert Peet

What’s 1.1 kilometres long, 3.5 metres high and can halt a half-tonne rock travelling at 160km/h? The now award-winning rockfall protection fence on Bulli Pass. 

The Illawarra Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) team behind the $5 million project, which was completed in late October, has been acknowledged for their work. 

The group was recently given an excellence in road safety engineering award by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia.

The flexible barrier – the longest fence of its kind in Australia – was built in two stages, forcing the closure of the pass on both occasions. 

Major disruptions were caused when the pass was closed for nine weeks last year for stage two of the project, which saw 500 metres of the fencing installed and stabilisation work undertaken.

Stage one of the work, when 600 metres of fencing was installed in the highest risk sections, saw the Princes Highway route cut for a two-month period in late 2016.

During that time, three accidents on the M1 forced the temporary reopening of the pass.

However, the thoroughfare remained closed when an accident happened during the second closure.

“I know this project was a controversial one, but it was an investment that will save lives,” the Illawarra’s parliamentary secretary, and Kiama MP, Gareth Ward said. 

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