Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has been investigating a Coffs Harbour bypass since 2001 as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade. It announced a preferred route in 2004 and published the concept design report in 2008.

The project needed to cross three major ridge lines, and in 2018, TfNSW initially chose to move forward with cuttings rather than tunnels. This option would involve making 60-metre deep and3 00-metre wide cuttings to make way for the bypass.

In the year following, TfNSW received a significant volume of negative feedback on the decision to use the cuttings solution. As a result, it chose to adopt a tunnel solution instead to improve the sustainability outcomes of the project.

The challenge

Under public pressure to enhance the sustainability outcomes, TfNSW needed advice on integrating sustainability into the early planning phases of the project, and in particular, into the procurement processes, in order to gain a sustainability rating.

So, in 2019, TfNSW asked Circulr to develop a Sustainability Strategy with the primary aim of achieving a minimum ‘Excellent’ Design & As-Built rating from the Infrastructure SustainabilityCouncil of Australia. 

The solution

We provided expert advice on the requirements for sustainability accreditation for the project in the procurement planning phase.
We developed a conceptual Sustainability Management Plan for the Project that ensured compliance and fulfilled the requirements for the ISC rating.
We completed a weightings assessment and sustainability self-assessment for the Project’s eventual IS sustainability rating.
We developed a Sustainability Strategy to outline how the Project will achieve a minimum ‘Excellent’ Design and As-built ISC rating.


With the advice and documentation Circulr developed, including a publicly available Sustainability Strategy, TfNSW successfully designed a process for achieving an ‘Excellent’ Design and As-built IS rating for the project. The conceptual Sustainability Management Plan has helped TfNSW communicate the sustainability requirements for the Project.  

TfNSW described our working style as ‘cut to the chase’. Feedback included that we met the relevant sustainability requirements in the Project’s procurement planning phase without lengthy and complex documentation, and that this was one of the unique benefits of working with Circulr.

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