The secret to delivering a $16bn super tunnel project

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Blog, Case Studies

Westconnex is the largest tunnel project in Australian history.

Affectionately named Sydney’s spaghetti junction, the project involved:

9 kilometres of new motorway tunnels in the heart of Sydney

the widening and realignment of the existing M5 at King George’s road
a large interchange at St Peters
14km of shared pedestrian and bike paths and connections to future projects

The JV of dreams

In 2016, the second stage of the $16bn Westconnex project was led and delivered by the joint venture of civil engineering heavyweights Aurecon-Jacobs.

The joint venture was given the responsibilities for design of the roads, tunnels and all other civil elements. Leighton and International partners Dragados and Samsung were the lead contractors.

Aurecon faced a busy 2016 with a range of projects in the pipeline which included the coveted Airport East Precinct and WestConnex projects.

Aurecon therefore required a data management and worksharing solution, which proved to be very important on these projects, particularly for WestConnex.

The JV had structured the project so that the busy offices would provide support to the quieter design centres with shared work. To achieve this the project needed to adopt an efficient worksharing solution.

Globe icon with location pins

Connecting the dots: 12d Synergy

The Aurecon – Jacobs 12d team was fairly disperse. Most of the team was based in the Mascot design office near Sydney Airport.

Work was also being shared with a number of other locations from:

  • Bangkok
  • Auckland
  • Hobart
  • Neutral Bay
  • St Leonards
  • South Brisbane
  • Melbourne


One of the biggest driving forces behind the Aurecon-Jacobs JV adopting 12d Synergy was the seamless flexibility it provided.

They needed the ability to share and balance workloads across the organisations. Compared to the long commutes and fly-in fly-out system, working with 12d Synergy allows their employees to meet work commitments and reduce as many interruptions to their lifestyle as possible.

“Plenty of users on the WestConnex have reported that they’re really happy to have avoided long commutes and wasted time in airports, hotels and taxis,” says Ed Wilson, Senior Civil Designer.

Employees in remote places such as Far North Queensland and New Zealand could now join in on projects, which may not have been possible before implementing 12d Synergy.

12d Synergy made Aurecon and their 12d staff more sustainable, which is a win-win for all parties involved.

Managing the data minefield

Aurecon and WSP implemented 12d Synergy data management capabilities to share and manage a wide range of geospatial data. This included 12d Model data, SWMM data, GIS data and project tasks, enhancing collaboration between the design teams.

In their Sydney Transport business, Aurecon contain a team of 9 road designers, 5 surveyors, 6 water engineers and 3 civil designers.

They also collaborate with other offices around the world namely Newcastle and Brisbane but also Thailand, Vietnam and South Africa.

The structure for a project like this is for the busy offices to provide support to the quieter design centres with shared work.

To achieve this, the project needed to adopt a worksharing solution. Aurecon decided to trial 12d Synergy as it offered a compelling alternative to other packages in the marketplace which weren’t meeting their needs.

People collaborating across multiple offices

12d Synergy makes collaboration easy

Aurecon-Jacobs found that after the initial adoption phase that their users liked the system. Adoption of new software and procedures can often be received quite negatively.

Ed was quick to point out that he has received plenty of positive feedback:

  • Training users is very straight forward
  • Due to the simplicity of 12d Synergy, he can send an email with a memo describing how to use 12d Synergy, it’s functions and its benefits.
  • 12d Synergy also offers all users a range of free training content such as videos and webinars.

Aurecon’s team were able to adapt flexibilities which other industries have been able to do for quite some time.

Employees in remote places such as Far North Queensland and New Zealand could join in on projects, which may not have been possible before implementing 12d Synergy.

12d Synergy’s ability to provide flexible working conditions will also allow Aurecon to leverage the as an employer of choice.

“Work sharing and Synergy did help our business and it’s helping our people,” adds Ed.

“Synergy quickly became part of the scenery for me. I prefer to use Synergy, rather than the LAN and that’s where I’m starting all my projects now.”

Don’t take our word for it! Take a deep dive into 12d Synergy’s email, document and data management features. Book your live demo here.

ISO 19650: Your Blueprint for Tunnel Project Success

Unlock the secrets of risk management in tunnel construction with our Ultimate Guide to ISO 19650. Learn how ISO 19650 standards can streamline your processes, enhance collaboration, and ensure project excellence. Complete the form below to download the free guide.

ISO 19650 PDF Cheat Sheet Spread