When it comes to managing extreme weather, our Sydney Roads Asset Performance (SRAP) team has its flood response down to a fine art. 

The Network Delivery Hub team coordinates work closely with all stakeholders to ensure a quick response to keep road users and motorists safe. 

Ventia's nine-year contract with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) provides road maintenance and asset management services to an area of western Sydney covering seven local government areas including the Blue Mountains, plus maintenance of the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) throughout Regional NSW. 

The region covered by these services consists of more than 875 kilometres of linking carriageway, 289 bridges, 1 tunnel, 432 kilometres of cycleway, 186 kilometres of roadside safety barriers, 23,844 traffic signs and 829 traffic signals.

Extreme weather in Sydney during 2022 has impacted road infrastructure across Hawkesbury, Yarramundi, North Richmond and Windsor. 

This illustrates the importance of having experienced teams on hand, with plans in place to respond safely and quickly. 

Putty Road affected by a minor land slide near the side of the road

The extreme weather in Sydney during 2022 has impacted road infrastructure across our SRAP contract, and our teams were there to keep motorists safe.

 

What does crisis coordination involve? 

We often hear the phrase "coordination saves lives", but what does coordination during a crisis involve?  

For Ventia's SRAP team, Civil Maintenance Manager Isaac Hair says it means bringing teams together in a concerted approach to repair and recovery operations. 

Successful coordination with TfNSW reduces wasted resources, time and, more importantly keeps motorists safe.

During the flooding in July 2022, Ventia's crews monitored flood levels at bridges throughout the night. Once crews noticed the water was rising faster than previously, they proactively mobilised resources to both sides of the river and other at-risk areas of the road network.

Colo bridge flooded at Putty Road

Ventia's crews monitored flood levels at bridges throughout the night during the flooding in July 2022. No job is too big or too small for the team.

 

"When it comes to events like the floods in Sydney, we're focused on doing better than we've ever done and in being prepared," Isaac says. 

"We coordinate with the SES with proactive vegetation controls, which has resulted in a significant reduction in downed trees in the most recent event." 

Isaac says there's no job too big or small for Ventia.

We see our role as being able to provide seamless and reliable support to the client and delivering the best outcomes for the Greater Sydney road network.

Coordination keeps the lights on in Colo Heights 

Road networks and bridges are key to keeping our communities connected, and allowing people to go about their day to day lives. 

A generator situated in Colo - around 80km north of Sydney's CBD - was due to receive a tanker fuel delivery. The TfNSW Customer Journey Management team (CJM) raised a concern with our crews due to the extreme weather. 

The CJM reached out to Ventia for advice on identifying the best and safest road route explains Isaac. 

"Our team stepped up and one of our supervisors met the tanker to escort it safely through alternative routes via Mount Victoria and Bilpin." 

 "Without the collaboration between us and the CJM team, this may have resulted in those important generators running dry that evening, when power was needed most during the crisis in that community."

Ventia

Civil Maintenance Manager from Ventia's SRAP team, Isaac Hair explains the team focuses on doing better than they have ever done, and on being prepared.

 

Leveraging data  

Isaac says that the Team has learned a lot from this year's February and March weather events and put those experiences into action when the severe rain event occurred in July. 

"In a typical month the SRAP crews respond to 68 incidents," he says. "From March to June this year we dealt with over 730 incidents." 

One key maintenance activity is pothole repairs, which typically number less than 500 a month, but have now increased to more than 1500 in the same timeframe.

One innovation we've implemented to manage this increased workload is the use of a 'Flocon'. This is a specialist piece of equipment that keeps the asphalt hot all day and night, which means we can repair more potholes in a shift. 

"On top of this we proactively identify areas of concern using newly developed technology that uses traffic data off the Waze app. We can mobilise quickly to an area that motorists have flagged as flooded or damaged." 

Next time you're driving on roads in western Sydney, spare a thought for the hard work, innovation and collaboration that goes into keeping those roads safe for you and motorists like you.