The Goods Line – urban walkway in precast concrete

National Precast member Hanson Precast has helped bring The Goods Line – a new urban corridor – to life through a number of innovative and striking precast concrete features.Sydney now has its very own version of the New York High Line, where a public park and walkway was constructed on a freight line above the streets of Manhattan’s lower west side.

The Goods Line is a newly developed, partly elevated urban pedestrian corridor that connects Central Station with Darling Harbour. Designed as part of a New South Wales Government initiative for a connected, sustainable and innovative Sydney, the vision for the Goods Line was to create a series of recreational, entertainment and study places along the previously disused rail line corridor.

At the centre of this unique project is precast concrete, with large precast pavers forming the central walkway.

Precast concrete for modern regeneration

Sydney-based precast concrete manufacturer and National Precast member Hanson Precast manufactured more than 650 elements to bring this project to life.

The 500-metre walkway is constructed from large format precast concrete pavers.

According to Hanson’s Estimating and Sales Manager, Richard Lorenzin, these pavers were made to suit the environment with complex geometrics and varying sizes.

Some of the pavers were as long as 13 metres and needed to include multiple folds for water run-off. About 300 metres of The Goods Line also incorporates a number of levels for building frontages, which the pavers needed to match.

Senior engineer at the company Nagesh Kanapathy says the team at Hanson relished the challenge. “There’s an important reason why this project went well.

“We have a design department with a 3D-modelling system and specialist draftsmen. They were integral in using that modelling to co-ordinate exactly what was needed on site, especially interfacing with different locations. It was like solving a complicated jigsaw puzzle.”

The pavers needed to be aesthetically pleasing, but also practical, asserts Mr. Kanapathy. “There’s an etched finish on the concrete so it’s slip resistant. We had to make it as functional as possible, so for example, we even considered women wearing high heels. We reduced the joint between the pavers to reduce the risk of heels getting caught.”

Mr. Lorenzin says there were other factors to consider as well. “One of the challenges we faced was making the precast pavers removable. There are high voltage power lines underneath which require access. We’ve ensured the pavers can be lifted out if necessary so workers can access the power line.”

A defining and important part of The Goods Line is the recreational spaces along the walkway. Hanson manufactured and supplied precast concrete furniture, including benches and seats for these hubs.

Mr. Kanapathy says precast is a practical, low maintenance and durable solution for public places. “What’s becoming popular is the use of precast concrete for landscape furniture, that was traditionally made out of timber or steel.”

An award winning new beginning

It’s been more than 30 years since The Goods Line was used as a rail link. The new development is already winning awards and is being hailed an innovative and impressive public space. It’s an exciting development that’s given part of Sydney a new and important lease on life.

The Australian Urban Design Awards recently recognised The Goods Line as an exemplar project that revitalised a piece of disused Sydney infrastructure, providing a linear connection through the city and promoting sustainable transport. The project was the winner of the Australian Award Small Scale at the Awards’ presentation held in October.

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