A significant milestone for the Byford and Armadale communities in Western Australia.

Thomas Road Over Rail
Byford, Western Australia
At a glance

Delivered by Armadale Access Alliance, the construction of the Thomas Road Over Rail Bridge began in 2021 as a variation to the Armadale Road to North Lake Road Project (ARNLR) by Main Roads WA. The bridge replaced the at-grade level crossing on Thomas Road and has now been widened and upgraded as part of the METRONET Byford Rail Extension Project which includes the removal of 9 level crossings (7 vehicular and 2 pedestrian) between Armadale and Byford.

The Thomas Road Over Rail Project was completed in mid-September 2023 with a new, four-lane Thomas Road Bridge passing over the Australind line between Wungong South Road in Darling Downs and South Western Highway in Byford. The Thomas Road Bridge provides crucial early works to the METRONET Byford Rail Extension Project and facilitates the future Thomas Road duplication through an upgraded connection to South West Highway.

Final works on the Thomas Road Over Rail Project included:

  • Widening the road bridge to accommodate four traffic lanes
  • Connecting Butcher Road to Vlasich Road via a new eastern underpass
  • Building a new western underpass for a future shared path parallel
    to the rail corridor
  • Building another shared path on the southern side of the bridge for cyclists
    and pedestrians, with future provision for horse riders
  • Implementing urban and landscaping improvements for the community.

The challenges

The project team managed a challenging worksite with numerous constraints, including staging works to maintain live traffic (with the bridge built in two halves), and working directly adjacent to residents within a highly constrained site.

The presence and relocation of critical services, such as an operational HV substation, high-pressure gas lines and water; supply chain constraints; and rapidly changing market conditions also presented significant challenges.

The solution

The project team redesigned the rail bridge to address the limitations of the local prefabrication market, modifying work packages to minimise the reliance on specialist subcontractors. By undertaking a substantial portion of the delivery work internally, the project team was able to optimise, value and reduce the risks associated with the delivery schedule.

The Thomas Road Over Rail Project has received outstanding feedback from Main Roads WA, with the team earning one of the highest project performance ratings achieved by Laing O’Rourke in Australia.

Additionally, the project team developed positive relationships with the local community through a range of social and environmental endeavours, such as:

  • Exceeding contract targets for Indigenous business engagement in support
    of Laing O’Rourke’s Reconciliation Action Plan commitments, and fostering economic growth within the community more broadly;
  • Supporting a community-driven initiative to construct a multi-use underpass designed to accommodate horse riders and connect them to a wider network of bridle paths;
  • Donating 2,100 seedlings to community planting initiatives, and collaborating with a local primary school to design and build a nature play area for students to promote outdoor learning and exploration;
  • Engaging local Noongar artist, Acacia Collard to design various landscaping and urban art aspects to infuse cultural richness into the project's design;
  • Embedding paintings by local school children in the new Butcher Road Footpath under the bridge, serving as a legacy for the local community
  • Hosting a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) outreach program that engaged students from Byford Secondary College and Curtin University Engineering Association through site visits and project information
    to support their STEM studies and career planning;
  • Fostering a positive team culture with initiatives such as weekly Connectivity Sessions, staff volunteering days, diversity and inclusion events, donation drives for local charities, and a project vegetable garden, with produce shared amongst staff and the local community.

Overall, the Thomas Road Over Rail Project was awarded a Silver Design Rating by Main Roads WA with significant achievements and credits in the categories of social, environmental, economic and governance.

Byford, Western Australia

Thomas Road Over Rail

Byford, Western Australia

Thomas Road Over Rail


project labour hours contributed by an Indigenous workforce


native plant seedlings and saplings donated to the community and planted at Darling Downs Equestrian Park

Over 3%

of project spend with Aboriginal businesses