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Northern Connector Project

Urban Development & Renewal

Alexander Symonds provided surveying services for the Northern Connector, a 15.5 kilometre motorway connecting the South Road Superway and the Northern and Port River Expressways in Adelaide.

Northern Connector render

Innovative Surveying Solutions

Spatial Dataset Management

Machine Control

The Challenge

Construction of a multi-lane expressway requires a significant amount of resource coordination and management of large spatial datasets. The project was expected to be completed over an extended period, so continuity of staff and the ability to scale according to project needs was critical to minimise ongoing costs. One of the main challenges of this project was the strict safety requirements of the site: on-foot access for our surveying staff was restricted while plant was operation in the same area. We were required to monitor daily the settlement of earthwork abutments, requiring a high level of accuracy; a task made even more complex when on-foot access was restricted for most of the day.

  • $885 million project to provide vital 15.5 kilometre motorway freight and commuter link
  • Changing workload required scalability and flexibility to minimise ongoing costs
  • Limited site access in plant operational areas outside designated meal breaks

Daniel Palmer - Northern Connector - Precast panels for noise wall structures 1

Our Solution

Alexander Symonds was engaged to provide continuous, high-quality surveying services for volume and material tracking for the project duration, with the ability to increase and decrease surveying services in accordance with the project requirements.

Through an innovative process, our team was able to accurately and efficiently monitor the settlement of earthwork abutments remotely, via a monitoring prism attached to the settlement plates. Not only did this remove the need for our team to access the area on foot, it eliminated the need for plant shutdown and reduced the fuel wastage cost from idle fleet.


As well as increasing safety protection, the use of GPA reduces the need for surveyors on the ground. This also enabled our team to dedicate more time to other surveying tasks, effectively reducing ongoing surveying costs and increasing productivity for the entire Northern Connector project. This solution was then rolled out to other project zones across the site, where suitable.

Our team additionally provided bridge and structure surveying, understanding the critical accuracy required in doing so.

  • Innovative remote system removed the requirement to physically access settlement plates in operational areas
  • Using a systematic approach meant despite the vast area in question, there was no lost time or missing data
  • Fast turnaround time minimised ongoing disruptions to the project timelines

Northern connector SA

The Results

Nelson Tucker - Northern Connector - Zone 6 (Underneath Bridge 1) (2)

Alexander Symonds was able to undertake 3 hours of daily monitoring without having to intermittently shut down plant in addition to designated meal breaks. Our exceptional data management protocols meant reports were created with efficient turnaround times, ensuring project continuity and accuracy in the field. The delivery of accurate and timely reporting was critical throughout the project to ensure the project ran on time and within budget. The supply of our skilled surveyors and supporting staff remained consistent throughout the project, ensuring reliability and continuity for the client over an extended period.

  • Innovative, remote surveying solution increased productivity
  • Efficient reporting turnaround time ensured the project could move ahead and the client could achieve sign-off in a timely manner
  • Our large team provided both a reliable and scalable workforce to meet the changing needs of the project

'"Alexander Symonds offered a service for the Northern Connector Project that went above and beyond my expectations. The company has left a lasting positive impression on me, and I will be using their services in the future."

Matthew Quaglia

Project EngineerLR&M

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