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The Gap Redevelopment

The Torndirrup National Park has been a favourite of visitors to Albany for decades. The Gap and The Natural Bridge are high on every tourist's must-see list when they visit the South Coast. But like many places along our rugged coastline the infrastructure suffers over time. With the mighty southern ocean lashing against granite cliffs the lookout metal structures and walkways frequently get drenched with salt spray. This iconic and often-visited Albany tourist site was due for a facelift; which is now under way.

The Harley Dykstra team in Albany have been involved in this project since the original feature survey in early 2005 which was used along with more intricate follow up surveys to develop the concept plan and then construction drawings for the new lookouts. The major feature is a spectacular cantilevered lookout at the Gap. Construction work began in November 2014, and since that time Harley Dykstra has worked closely with BGC Construction and their subcontractors to meet all the project’s survey requirements. Work is expected to be completed by November 2015.

A project like this, in an often inhospitable and potentially dangerous environment throws up challenges to everyone working on site. For Harley Dykstra some of the challenges have been:

Establishing and maintaining a network of high accuracy survey control points.

  1. Preserving the natural environment as we set out positions for the elevated walkway support posts and concrete footings and marked rock faces for cutting or drilling.

  2. Providing accurate as-constructed positions on the holding down bolts installed at the fulcrum footing and rear restraints for each lookout beam.

  3. Identifying areas of conflict between the support beam design and the existing granite and marking these areas for rock grinding and removal.

  4. Setting out levels for the ‘floating’ concrete path over undulating and irregular terrain so that formwork for the blinding could be accurately placed.

  5. Marking finished footpath levels around convoluted rock surfaces.

  6. Positioning relocated boulders and setting out latitude lines and construction joints to match the detailed etched patterns in the ‘Gathering Area’ slab.

  7. Sandbagging the Trimble total station so that it remained stable and did not blow over in sudden wind gusts, and in general maintaining equipment in good working order in a harsh working environment.

Offsite, in combination with the Harley Dykstra surveyors in Perth, we are currently surveying the large pre-fabricated stainless steel beams to ensure that when transported to Albany they will attach to the onsite bolts and match their design levels and alignment.  

This project is certainly one that we will look back on with pride, pleased that we played our part in providing the people of Albany and the many tourists to this area with a facility that in combination with the spectacular view, should take their breath away.


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