Motorway upgrade incorporates monitoring technology to protect comms assets

Monday, 30 July, 2012

As part of the $1.95 billion upgrade to Queensland’s Ipswich Motorway, more than 40 communication cabinets were installed to enable fibre connectivity between speed signs, variable message displays and traffic monitoring systems. To help monitor the cabinets, the Origin Alliance installed technology from Opengear.

The Origin Alliance, which comprises the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, SMEC Austral, Abigroup Contractors, Seymour Whyte, Fulton Hogan and Parsons Brinckerhoff, selected Brisbane-based company Opengear to provide the solution.

Opengear provided ‘always up’ network connectivity to support intrusion detection (cabinet sensors) and flood monitoring (water level and leak detectors).

The solution included ACM5004-G cellular-enabled Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) gateways, operating on Telstra’s Next G network, for physical monitoring of communication cabinets and video surveillance of sections of the motorway. The always up network connectivity is effective even if fibre connectivity or power is cut. It generates alerts if someone enters the cabinets, creates alarms in the event of a power failure, and monitors and stores footage from solar-powered video cameras (so traffic engineers can view the road for accidents).

During heavy 2012 summer rains, site engineers were able to remotely monitor flood levels near a large storage shed by a creek, which contained $3 million of equipment, and avoid a repeat of the previous year’s flooding, which had completely inundated the shed.

Origin Alliance engineers attached the RIM gateway to water sensors. If the sensors were triggered, they would be alerted to move equipment before water reached it.

“Going into Christmas, there were predictions of lots of water, so we were protecting against localised flooding,” said Project Engineer Paul Lynch.

“Although the creek did rise significantly, actually triggering the first sensor, we were able to keep a close eye on the water level to ensure that it did not present a serious threat to the shed. Fortunately, the water did not rise further, so we didn’t have to remove the equipment.”

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