The Woomera Prohibited Area is a military testing range that covers 122,188km² in north-west South Australia, about 450km north-west of Adelaide. It is the largest land testing range in the world. The Area is mainly South Australian Crown land covered by pastoral leases, exploration and mining tenements and native title.
It is a Prohibited Area regulated by legislation and is a Defence premise used for the testing of war materiel under the management of the Royal Australian Air Force. It is an important Defence capability, testing and evaluation asset that plays a significant role in Australia’s national security.
The Department of Defence identified the requirement for a direct roadway between an ordnance loading area within the Wommera Airfield and a technical area magazine. Intract Australia were engaged to undertake the civil construction works for the new road.
Scope of Work
Works comprised the construction of a 1415m road in a remote location within the Woomera Prohibited Area. Over the course of the project, 10,000m³ of earthworks were completed to build up the road base in three layers. Road pavements comprised of 10,500m2 of spray sealed triple coated with sanded emulsion overlay to reduce potential foreign object debris damage.
Additional works included 21m of reinforce concrete box culverts for drainage, drainage and cut-off earthworks, installation of two gates, installation of signage, line marking and the raising a communications service pit.
Plant and equipment utilised on the project included a 140M grader, WA380 front end loader, 20t excavator, 15,000L water truck, 10t smooth drum roller, 12t padfoot roller and a 24t multi-wheel roller.
Intract engaged the services of GML Heritage and Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation to undertake heritage inspections and clearances in the construction areas. The works footprint was the length of the road with a works footprint width of 30m. Within the wider area, 13 archaeological sites comprising of stone artefact and lithic sites and one area with cultural, mythological and anthropological value were identified. Three of the sites were within the road alignment.
20m square perimeters were marked around the central node of each site comprising of flagging fencing to prevent access or impacts to each finding. Signage was clearly installed defining the name of each site, and the nature of each no-go area during the program of construction.
Works required connection with a concrete apron within the airfield. Works required closing off a portion of the runway to achieve the tie in. This required liaison with the RAAF Base Airfield Safety Officer. Tie in works were completed without incident and completed two days early within the four day designated period.
GML Heritage and Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation later inspected the work zone and collected the lithics from the three fenced off sites within the alignment, and then placed the objects within the cultural area. This allowed construction to commence through the original design alignment.
Workforce peaked at five personnel with one Indigenous employee achieving an Indigenous Participation of 22% for the project. The Kokatha People, the Traditional Owners of large section of the land in the north of South Australia including the land surrounding the Department of Defence’s Woomera Prohibited Area, were consulted and engaged with during the works.