RPS has completed ecological studies and secured environmental approvals for a project to enhance safety, capacity and traffic flow on the Bruce Highway between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.
To ensure local habitats and animal populations are protected during construction of the upgrade and after it is complete, specialist ecological studies were required to inform approvals and negotiate offsets under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Engaged by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), our team undertook a range of ecological assessments and field surveys including comprehensive monitoring of the local koala population. Combining the expertise of our locally-based planners and ecologists, RPS supported DTMR to calculate and negotiate environmental offsets, complete effective environmental management planning, liaise with regulators and compile approval submissions.
With a brief to ensure ‘no net loss’, our focus was on avoiding negative environmental impacts wherever possible, and mitigating or offsetting them wherever they were unavoidable. The environmental data generated by our team has fed directly into the road design process, ensuring optimal alignment of new lanes and interchanges for least impact on local animals and ecosystems.
A plan has also been produced for the project implementation phase that will help keep local habitats functional and healthy, including the introduction of fauna corridors, pest and weed control measures and a staged approach to the clearing of land.
The Commonwealth Department of the Environment approved the project under the EPBC Act in 2016, subject to implementation of mitigation measures set out in our overarching Environmental Management Plan.
Construction commenced in late 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2020. Implementation of the mitigation measures is ongoing, including the delivery of koala bushland offsets and fauna protection in the highway corridor.
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