ERA was engaged by Burbury Consulting engineers to assist with engagement on the Great Eastern Drive road upgrade project for the Department of State Growth.

This project involves the upgrade of up to 30 sites along the Great Eastern Drive between Orford and St Helens. The project broadly was developed to boost regional tourism and improve safety in an area with increasing visitor numbers. The works involve sealing pull-off bays and improving intersections into sites such as beaches, vineyards and other tourism interest spots.

The project followed a separate Great Eastern Drive study undertaken by a different business, which was completed in early 2019. It identified 67 sites, which were further narrowed down to 30 sites through a multi-criteria analysis. While some of the work had been done to identify suitable projects, it highlighted the importance of good community engagement at the earliest possible stage. When further work commenced on the 30 sites and key stakeholders were contacted, it became clear that some of these 30 sites were inappropriate for development from a safety perspective, or from the perspective of introducing tourism to areas that are not suitable for high visitation numbers.

The engagement highlighted the importance of working closely with stakeholders early, even if the work presents as an options analysis. The outcome was favourable for the client as relationships were established with key stakeholders early, which continued through the three phases of the project and resulted in better outcomes. It also resulted in a better outcome as the client was able to decide not to develop certain sites as a reflection of the advice received, saving money, and reducing conflicts and safety concerns in the future.

ERA continues to work with Burbury Consulting on Stage Three of the project.