EastLink wins award for industry-leading innovation

EastLink’s new Tunnel Ventilation on Demand (VoD) system won the 2018 Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Australian National Industry Award.

Melbourne’s EastLink is the first toll road in Australia –and one of the first in the world – to introduce a dynamic VoD system which has reduced power usage by 68 per cent and halved audible noise for residents whilst still complying with all environmental and safety requirements.

The award-wining VoD project included upgrading the tunnel’s 10 ventilation fans from fixed-speed operation to variable speed drives and using a more efficient impeller design. A redesign of the motor control system and a new closed loop management system allows the fans to run efficiently at a lower speed which is dynamically controlled based on real-time data from airflow sensors.

An important aspect of the project was demonstrating to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that air quality objectives could be achieved with partial portal emissions (air discharge at road level). Previouslythe exhaust fans extracted tunnel air and expelled it via the exhaust stacks. With each fan running at full speed they were consuming considerable power and producing noticeable facility noise along with a reduced asset life and increased maintenance costs.

In consultation with the EPA, Broadspectrum facilitated a modelling study and implemented an ambient air quality monitoring program to confirm the modelling outcomes. Following an amendment to the EPA licence, the tunnel ventilation now runs permanently in the new mode, allowing approximately 30 per cent of tunnel air to exit via the portals with traffic, rather than 100 per cent exiting via the tunnel stacks. The new mode saves over 9,000 tonnes C02e per annum.

The ITS awards recognise professional ITS expertise and raise awareness about the benefits of ITS technology to cities, communities, the environment and everyday lives.

The EastLink Alliance is a longstanding partnership between ConnectEast and Broadspectrum, together delivering continuous improvement to operations and maintenance for the 40km EastLink tollroad and tunnels.

EastLink tunnel VoD project leaders Alexandra Monson and Ian Oxworth with the ITS Australia National Industry Award 2018

The EastLink team: (Left to right)  Dean Zabrieszach  (ITS Australia), Doug Spencer-Roy (EastLink), Ian Oxworth (EastLink), Alex Monson (EastLink), and Roland Pittar (Australian Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development & Cities).