Recurring roadworks that frustrate motorists and ratepayers will be slashed with the launch of a ground-breaking collaboration tool that synchronises underground maintenance projects.
More than 50 NSW councils, utilities and agencies are expected to join the cloud-based iWORCS platform to coordinate capital works jobs to ensure that roads are only dug up once to undertake maintenance and repairs.
Developed in collaboration by NSW Streets Opening Coordination Council (SOCC), Sydney Water, local councils and Esri Australia, it is estimated that iWORCS could save hundreds of thousands of dollars as councils and utilities harmonise their work schedules.
SOCC chair Dominic Puiu said a pilot program conducted last year identified savings in the range of $300,000 by sharing the cost of road surfacing, surveying and traffic management.
“Sydney Water and nine Sydney councils uploaded their work programs into iWORCS for a few months to create a central record of planned works that all could access,” Mr Puiu said.
“Even in that short time, significant savings were able to be made by coordinating the various projects, so that there was just one road opening and resurfacing.
“More important was the improvement in safety through reduced traffic disruptions and damage to road and footpath surfaces, and the reduction in disruption to communities that road and footpath blockages cause.”
Stuart McDonald, Wastewater & Stormwater Team Leader at Sydney Water said his organization could save $1 million in the first couple of years when the majority of Sydney councils and other government departments join the program.
“Too often when utilities and councils work independently, projects aren’t aligned, causing re-work, customer frustration and waste.” Mr McDonald said.
"We’ve been proud to assist in the development and promotion of iWORCS as we can see the opportunity to minimise interruptions to our customers, reduce waste and duplication, while ensuring Sydney’s assets – including council’s re-sheeted roads – last for the longer-term.”
City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the council has been working with the iWORCS online platform since the initial pilot and had seen the program save time, cuts costs and reduces inconvenience residents.
“For current footpath improvement work on Bourke Street, Surry Hills, iWORCS has delivered immediate benefits for the community by improving coordination and avoiding the cost and disruption of any unnecessary duplicated work,” the Lord Mayor said.
It’s an excellent example of government agencies and councils working together in a way that’s of real benefit to residents and businesses alike – it would be terrific to see more utilities get on board,” the Lord Mayor said.
Esri Australia managing director, Brett Bundock said iWORCS has spearheaded a new era of collaboration between councils, utilities and other agencies.
“iWORCS will help ease the frustration felt by road users, with freshly resurfaced roads being dug up repeatedly for underground maintenance,” Mr Bundock said.
“As well as saving money for all stakeholders through shared costs, iWORCS enables utilities and councils to actively demonstrate their commitment to put the needs of the public first.” he said.
Stakeholders from across NSW have already joined the collaborative platform including:
• Sydney Water
• Wollongong City Council
• Lane Cove Council
• Jemena Gas
• Randwick City Council
• Georges River Council
• City of Sydney
• Canterbury-Bankstown Council
• Northern Beaches Council
• Roads and Maritime Services