Sydney’s new WestConnex M8 motorway from Kingsgrove to St Peters
Part of Sydney’s huge transport expansion plan, Transurban’s WestConnex will provide drivers with a 33km road network once completed. Officially opened on the 4th of July, the WestConnex M8, part of the WestConnex project, sees 9km of tunnel in each direction from St Peters Interchange to Kingsgrove.
In a joint venture with Samsung, the project called for a phenomenal scale of decorative lighting. This included lighting the 9km of tunnel in each direction, as well as the entryway, exits, and surrounding landscape. Lightmoves were the clear choice for CPB Contractors, the Head Contractor on the project. With over 30 years’ experience in LED Feature Lighting & Lighting Control, Lightmoves were able to design custom solutions to each of the architectural lighting installations that not only exceeded specifications, but also saved time and money during installation thanks to some ingenious engineering.
The WestConnex M8 saw 5 separate lighting installations to be completed, on a scale that only Lightmoves could manage. Originally conceived by Hassel Studio in conjunction with lighting designers Lighting Art + Science, the project consisted of some 2700 LED lighting fixtures to be installed, controlled and commissioned across 4 separate areas over the 10 kilometres of the project.
Lightmoves has been working on the WestConnex M8 project for nearly four years. From the initial design concepts by Lighting Art + Science, and through a Design & Construct process with CPB, the Lightmoves team have been there. This continued through the documentation and manufacture stages, followed by delivery, commissioning and programming. The project involved a serious investment for the Lightmoves team, who helped to deliver the ultimate result for the project. The architectural feature lighting system was delivered on time, on budget, and fully functional on opening night.
Kingsgrove Dives is the western end of the M8 tunnels in Kingsgrove. Along both walls of the entry & exit over 500 units of Space Cannon’s CD Linear S RGBW’s linear LED fittings were supplied. Various lengths of the Linear S have been installed inside the 140 alcoves, decorating both sides of the entry and exit. This simple design creates colour-changing pillars of light as drivers transition into & out of the tunnel.
Throughout the 9km of tunnel in each direction, decorative direct-view LED lighting is scattered at various lengths to break up the monotony of the tunnels for drivers. A customised version of Space Cannon’s Glowline Pixel Bar was the perfect choice for fixture. With over 1500 fixtures supplied, there was no room to have issues with installation on site. As part of the service Lightmoves assembled, fitted-off, tested, and programmed every fixture before it arrived on site, including the custom mounting brackets. This saved the installation contractors countless hours as once the fixture arrived on site it was as simple as plug-and-play.
A stunning piece of architecture, the Portal Veil is the entry & exit to the tunnels at the St Peters end of the WestConnex M8. The striking veil of hundreds of linear panels have been lit with Space Cannon’s CD Linea M’s. Working closely with Space Cannon, each CD Linear has been mounted in a custom-designed extrusion, providing consistent angles when the light strikes the linear panels.
St Peters Interchange
The bridges throughout the St Peters Interchange are adorned with Space Cannon’s Pixel 8 RGBW direct-view fixtures. Each of these is mounted in a custom channel specifically designed for ease of installation and maintenance, as some of the luminaires are 25 metres above ground level. These Pixel 8 fixtures are perfect for outdoor use, and were specifically developed for the WestConnex project. Each pixel can be individually controlled, spreading patterns of light across the overpass.
In addition to the Pixel 8 fixtures, eighteen of the support columns under the bridge are grazed with light from over 360 WE-EF fixtures, creating a beautiful wash of light perfectly covering the entirety of each pillar. The combination of these fixtures results in a beautiful transition for drivers in the St Peters Interchange.
Lighting Control System
Such a large project of this scale, footprint, & sheer number of fixtures required the best-of-the-best control systems. As each luminaire is uniquely addressed for individual control, the project called for a lighting control system with some serious power behind it. The Pharos LPC 30 was the obvious choice for the project after a vigorous testing process.
In only a 1RU form factor, the Pharos LPC 30 delivers DMX over Ethernet via the highly-secured Tunnel fibre backbone. This fibre network also transports data for vision cameras, evacuation, tunnel audio, speed and time interval cameras and signage systems to name just a few of the parallel services. The complex network infrastructure required VLAN routing of unicast Artnet data originating from the LPC 30, delivered to 47 physically separate 4-universe DMX512 decoders.
A second redundant LPC 30 was supplied as a fail-over to keep the architectural feature lighting system running no matter what else happens along the way. The redundant unit is located in a totally separate location with active monitoring of the main unit, and is coded for seamless transfer if required.
As well as the lighting control data systems all of the luminaires (except for the Bridge Pier floods) required Extra Low Voltage (ELV) feeds. Lightmoves fabricated & supplied enclosures to provide all the ELV power supplies and their terminations with high quality protection in both the tunnel and near marine environments in which that they are working.
Commissioning for the project had to be completed in a very tight window. By the time the construction and civil works were completed, there was only a day or two before the project opened to traffic. Needless to say, Lightmoves were able to complete all programming before the deadline.
The commissioning process was rapidly completed thanks to Pharos and the network structure. The commissioning engineers could remotely access, test and control the system whilst inside the tunnel or out in the acreage of the St Peters Interchange.
Cabling systems are usually considered dull and boring, and just a necessary expense. For this project however the plug-and-play cabling system was the unsung hero. It delivered a control network of nearly 30 DMX universes in underground and high-level bridge environments by installation and cabling contractors who had never heard of DMX.
With the plug-and-play cabling system and the long DMX cable feeds there was not a single solder joint or field termination. Every cable was pre-terminated, specially manufactured as Low Smoke Zero Halogen in line with their operating environments. All that was required were the usual mains power terminations at the ELV power supplies.
This solution was designed and developed by Lightmoves and Space Cannon with their unrivalled experience in DMX, LED and ELV installations. It delivered the architectural feature lighting system with the minimum of field work and the minimum points of failure, in what would otherwise have been a very long winded, painful and labour-intensive installation and commissioning process right at the very busy end of the project.
After many years of work and countless hours of time invested in the project, it’s been a momentous project for the Lightmoves team to be a part of. The WestConnex M8 is another spectacular architectural lighting installation completed by Lightmoves that drivers can enjoy for years to come.