An assessment of rural road network resilience as a critical infrastructure for coal seam gas development in regional Queensland

Fitzgerald, Samuel Jesse (2015) An assessment of rural road network resilience as a critical infrastructure for coal seam gas development in regional Queensland. [USQ Project]


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The Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) extraction and export industry forms a large part of the Australian Resource Sector, a driving force in the national economy. Given the nature of these industries, the vast majority of the development associated is located in rural and regional Australia. With these developments comes a significant increase in the volume of traffic, and the percentage of commercial vehicles expected to utilise the local road networks.

The local infrastructure networks in these areas have often been designed and constructed to cater to low volumes of traffic and as such will usually consist of a pavement and formation only, with little in the way of drainage infrastructure. This existing asset class leaves these roads and associated road networks vulnerable to heavy rainfall events and flood events, with these roads often suffering significant damage and requiring a substantial amount of repair work be undertaken before the road is returned to the regular level of service. As a result these networks are extremely susceptible to damage and disruption during flood events.

Following the significant damage caused to infrastructure networks in Queensland during the major Flood events of Tropical cyclones Tasha and Anthony in 2011, and Ostwald in 2013, the resilience of transportation networks during and after major flood events has come into consideration. Many communities were isolated during the flood events and many assets were not returned to full service for periods of up to 2 years following the initial event. This disruption of the transportation network not only caused physical damage to the network, but is estimated to have cost the Queensland economy in excess of $15.7Billion.(Easdown, 2011).

This research project aims to investigate the resilience to flooding of the local road network in the Wandoan Region of Queensland, Australia and the expected economic impacts on local CSG developments as a result of this level of resilience.

To meet the research objectives of this project, a literature review was undertaken to determine existing frameworks for the quantification of network resilience. From this study the Networked Infrastructure Resilience Assessment (NIRA) Framework developed by (Omer, et al., 2013) was selected as the most appropriate and suitable method of analysis.

The NIRA framework was applied to model the resilience of the Western Downs Regional Council’s (WDRC) Wandoan West Road Network during a flood event of 2011 event magnitude, and assess the financial implications of this resilience on local Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Development in the area. This was undertaken by the application of forecast traffic data provided by CSG Developers, and historic damage information collected by WDRC in delivery of the 2011 flood damage recovery program.

This initial analysis provided a benchmark level of performance against which the impact of proposed upgrades would be measured. This initial analysis identified three major links in the network as having the most potential for financial loss due to decreased level of performance following a flood event, with a cumulative cost per day to developers of $4,913.16.

Using this analysis as a benchmark of existing network performance, a series of proposed upgrades were modelled by reducing the impact of recorded defects on the network in accordance with the proposed upgrade type. The impact of these upgrades was shown in a decreased cumulative cost per day of $1,985.43. This relatively minor saving per day has the potential to save CSG developers millions of dollars in lost production and increased travel costs over the extended period to full network recovery.

From the comparison of these analyses, a number of conclusions regarding factors which may influence link resilience were drawn, and potential improvements and further work to the analysis were discussed. The analysis performed was determined to be a useful tool for identifying and quantifying vulnerable links in a road network, but collection of more detailed data would be required to have full confidence in the financial impacts calculated.

This research project is supported by the University of Southern Queensland and the project supervisor, Trevor Drysdale.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil) project
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Drysdale, Trevor
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 01:24
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 01:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: Infrastructure, Resilience, Network
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090505 Infrastructure Engineering and Asset Management
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400508 Infrastructure engineering and asset management

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