Case study

Mackay Ring Road

ProjectMackay Ring Road Planning Study
ClientDepartment of Transport and Main Roads
LocationMackay, Australia
Disciplines/ServiceHydrologic and Hydraulic Modelling
Conceptual Planning
Assessment of Road Alignment Options
WRM ContactGreg Roads

The Challenge

WRM formed part of the AECOM team commissioned by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to investigate the options and determine a preferred alignment for the proposed Mackay Ring Road. The proposed Mackay Ring Road crosses several watercourses and drainage features in the Mackay region including the Pioneer River, Fursden Creek, Janes Creek, Goosepond Creek, Vines Creek, McCreadys Creek and tributaries of Bakers Creek. The key challenges of this investigation was to ensure the proposed Mackay Ring Road satisfied the key traffic objectives, was provided at minimal cost and did not cause detrimental flood impacts to existing infrastructure and commercial and private properties.

Approach and Key Activities

The study was undertaken in stages.  For the first stage, we used our extensive knowledge of flooding in the area to identify potential opportunities, issues and constraints of the potential ring road alignments.  The opportunities and constraints analysis led to the development of three preferred alignments around Mackay for more detailed assessment. For stage 2, hydrological and hydraulic models were developed of the various waterways to identify the number and width of waterway crossings and culverts required for each option as well as assess the potential impact on property and people.  A quantitative assessment of the potential flood damage costs were prepared for each option as part of the options selection process. The preferred alignment option was selected using a collaborative approach with several disciplines considering cost and an assessment of the potential impacts and benefits. Once a preferred alignment was selected, the hydraulic models were used to prepare concept designs of the various waterway crossings for costing purposes.


The completed report provided the client with a preferred Ring Road alignment that has considered all potential options and impacts including flooding and community concerns. The comprehensive hydraulic models developed for the study enabled the study team to provide a robust project definition and refinement of the capital works cost estimate.