Safer Streets in The Shire With Stratacells

Safer Streets in The Shire With Stratacells

By Kristyn M. Levis

Safer Streets in The Shire With Stratacells

The beautiful Gymea Town Centre in Sutherland Shire NSW has joined the ranks of safer streets around the world with the completion of its revitalisation project.

Using the Citygreen® modular Stratacell™ system, Sutherland Shire Council slowed down traffic and made the village more pedestrian-friendly by installing much needed crossing points and widened footpaths.

Sutherland Shire Mayor Steve Simpson said that Gymea is one of the Shire’s many attractive local shopping villages. The upgrade was intended to make it safer for pedestrians and improve accessibility.

“It was a large project and unfortunately it did take us a little longer than expected and Council apologises for any inconvenience caused. We have learnt from this process and acknowledge the importance of working with the right suppliers and contractors,” said the Mayor. “The end result is very impressive and we are proud of what we have achieved.”

“The Gymea Town Centre upgrade was initiated as a jointly funded grant project between the Federal Government and Sutherland Shire Council in 2010. The objective was to revitalise the town centre and enhance the economic viability by introducing high quality finishes,” said the Mayor.

The designers placed emphasis on the improvement of pedestrian access and safety. Another important part of the project is the undergrounding of power lines to free up footpaths for pedestrians and make the area look more attractive.

Sutherland Shire Stratacell

New kerbs and better drainage was installed, lighting was improved, extra seating was added near bus stops and new motorcycle parking was included in the street.

A new pedestrian crossing was added at the northern end of Gymea Bay Road near Warburton Street and a new drop off area for the train station was created outside Gymea Hotel. Some trees were retained and new street trees were added to the town centre, maintaining the village atmosphere.

The civil construction started in 2011 while all major work components were completed in late 2013. The Federal Government provided funds for the upgrade of three shopping centres. Around $3 million was allocated for the Gymea Shopping Centre upgrade and the Council provided a matching fund for the works.

Mayor Simpson said the council sees the Citygreen system as an “investment for the future”.
“The main reason for choosing Citygreen was to protect the Council’s new high quality pavement from uplifting in the future and to provide the trees with the best possible growing environment to reach their full potential,”
the Mayor said.

The council did a comparison between structural soil and the Citygreen system and found that the volume of soil in the Citygreen system was significantly greater than that in structural soil for the same sized hole. The system also provides opportunity for larger root growth as the voids with the Citygreen system are bigger than that achieved with structural soil.

“This means the trees that were selected for their quality at maturity and long term performance. They will have a better chance to grow into their characteristic healthy form in our man-made urban centres,” Simpson said.

The sidewalk treepits are being passively irrigated by rainwater from the roofs of the surrounding commercial premises, creating an efficient way to conserve water in urban green spaces.

Sutherland Shire NSW

The challenge they faced with the Stratacell modules was that it needed redesigning with different projects as some locations had different surface finishes. There were also other variables such as proximity of services and availability of water source (down pipes) to allow self-watering system.

The team requested for a Citygreen representative to help familiarise themselves with the installation tutorial before construction started. The representative supervised and checked the first module installation on the site.

Juan Vargas, contractor from Sydney Civil, was the project manager for Civil and Structural Engineers. He said they have used earlier versions of Citygreen products but they found that for this project, the most challenging step was refilling the excavated area.

“For this system, it is slower to fill the voids with the soil when backfilling,” Juan said. “The major issue we faced was time wise when backfilling the cells.”

In terms of module installation, the most challenging issue was working around existing services. To resolve this, the team had to be ready to alter the design at a moment’s notice. The Council said the current StrataCell system is easier to install than the earlier models and that the difficulties lessened with experience.

Citygreen is an all around provider for urban developers. For this project, the company also supplied the complete integrated tree protection package including heelsafe treegrille with treeguard and deep watering system in custom finishes chosen by the client.

With the Citygreen system fitting quite well with the project’s design, the Council is considering using the system in similar situations in the future.

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -