Infrastructure: The East-West Link Project Management

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Executive Summary

The East West Link Project has been based on a careful research done by the Victorian State Government to try to eliminate traffic congestion in Melbourne City. This city has been losing its attractiveness to investors and visitors due to slow movement of traffic. In a bid to curb this problem, the Victorian State Government has come up with a project that would link the Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road. The scope of this project is limited to joining these two highways with a standard dual carriage road. This will help decongest the city. This project is expected to take about six years, beginning from late 2014 until 2019-2020. The cost of the project is estimated to be eight billion US dollars. The project members are expected to come up with a high quality project that meets the set standards internationally. The project manager must ensure that it has the right human resource, including the technical human resource such as the engineers and designers. During the process of planning and executing this project, communication must remain very clear and open to all the involved stakeholders. The possible risks must be stated and their remedies defined. The project must be brought to completion within the set budget and timeline.

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Introduction

The Victorian State Government has realized that there is need to undertake a project of road construction that would link the Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road as a way of easing traffic within the City of Melbourne. This project, which has been referred to as the East West Link Project, seeks to create a road that would link these two highways and ease the movement of traffic within this city. The government, through the Ministry Of Public Transport and the Ministry of Roads, announced publicly its intention to undertake this project as a way of easing traffic movement and eliminating congestion within the central business district of Melbourne. The announcement was made on May 2012 following a study, which was conducted to determine how the city of Melbourne could be turned into a more vibrant business hub.

This project is expected to start in the late 2014, and be completed in 2019-2020. The project is estimated to cost about eight billion US dollars. This road will be about 18 kilometers and it is expected to meet the Australian roads standards before it is finally officiated for use by the public. For this project to be successful, all the stakeholders must play their roles in it with a lot of diligence. The Victorian State government, being the chief financier of this firm, must ensure that it provides all the needed resources that would make this business a success. The project manager and project members must undertake their duties meticulously in order to make this project fruitful (Kanda 2011, p. 64).

Purpose and objectives of the project

This project is specifically meant to decongest the City of Melbourne. The Victorian State Government came to realize that this city had reduced capacity in terms of business efficiency due to congestion of traffic. Motorists were forced to spend several hours on road because of this congestion. This was making this city unattractive. Some investors were considering the option of doing business in other cities in this region other than Melbourne. To protect this city and attract more investors, this government realized that there was a need to undertake this East West Link Project to solve the issue of traffic congestion. This infrastructure is meant to ensure that motorists who are moving from the Eastern Freeway can connect directly to Western Ring Road. This means that they would not have to travel to the central business district of Melbourne. Only those motorists with a specific issue to address within the central business district will have to travel to the city.

This would reduce the flow of traffic into the central business district, making this city less congested. The following are the main objectives that this project seeks to achieve upon its completion.

  1. To create a new traffic between Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road to avoid flow of traffic into the central business district of Melbourne City
  2. To make the Port of Melbourne more accessible by road, thereby making it a more active and attractive port in the region
  3. To eliminate the need to travel to the central business district for the motorists whose route is from either Eastern Freeway to Western Ring Road or from Western Ring Road to Eastern Freeway
  4. To save time for those travelling to or from Melbourne City by reducing traffic congestion
  5. To ensure that the movement to or from the City of Melbourne is a less expensive and a more efficient journey.

The East West Link Project Life Cycle

According to Fox and Van (2007), understanding project lifecycle is very important, especially to the stakeholders who are involved in the project. Each stage of a project’s life cycle has specific activities, which should be undertaken adequately in order to make the project succeed in the market. Each of these stages is very important in ensuring success of the project. The East West Link Project is a massive and very ambitious project that will cost the Victorian State Government a lot of money. The project is still at the planning stage as it is expected to commence officially from late 2014. This means that the project members still have a lot of work ahead of them and must do all that is within their powers to make it successful. The following are some of the stages that the East West Link Project will undergo before it is finally brought to completion.

The East West Link Project Life Cycle

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Initiation

At the initiation stage, the project owners determine the need to undertake the project. In this particular project, the Victorian State Government has already determined the need to undertake this project. The government has made clear its intention to reduce the current traffic congestion in Melbourne City’s central business district. To achieve efficiency in this city, the government realized that there was a need to improve the infrastructure. The government has stated the intention of financing this project, and the specific aim that this project seeks to achieve once it is completed.

Planning

This project is currently at its planning stage. The Victorian Sate Government, the engineers, and all the stakeholders who have been approved to undertake this project are trying to develop strategies that would be used in this project to make it a success. The team must work as a unit during this stage to develop the most desirable prototype that would be used in the project (Chin 2004, p. 26). When developing the model/prototype, the planners must ensure that they come up with a practical model that can be implemented once the site work commences in the late 2014.

Execution

Project execution involves all the activities of making the project plans a reality. The execution of East West Link Project is expected to begin in the late 2014. When this begins, it is expected that all the stakeholders involved will undertake their assigned duties with a lot of diligence. According to Curlee and Gordon (2011), it is always necessary to define the role of every member of the project team before the execution stage begins. Every project member must understand his or her role. This is because in such a project, there are chains of activities, and each activity assigned to one individual will make it possible for another individual to undertake his or her duties. The engineers, the manual laborers, quality assurance team and the supervision team will heavily be involved at this stage of the project. It is expected that this stage will last for about six years.

Monitoring and control

During the process of executing East West Link Project, it would be important to ensure that there is monitoring and control of all the activities taking place in this project. According to Young (2010, p. 47), involving projects such as road construction should always be undertaken with a lot of precision to avoid any occurrence of mistakes. Any mistakes in this project can be very costly. For instance, when the mistake is made at a bridge, then the bridge will be a deathtrap and many lives can be lost when it collapses while in use. The amount of money being invested in this project is also huge, and any mistakes in it cannot be tolerated. Monitoring and control task will be assigned to the quality assurance team. The quality assurance team will be responsible for ensuring that all quality issues on the road is put under close check for every inch made. This will help in coming up with a high quality 18-kilometer road linking Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road.

Closing

The final stage of a project is always the closing stage. At this stage, the project manager, quality assurance team and other top officials in the project will make their final submission to the Victorian State Government. This government will send its own quality assurance team and lawyers to determine if the project was conducted as per the specification in the contract. When the government is satisfied with the project, the final stage would be launching of the road for public use.

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Project Deliverables

It is important to understand project deliverables before undertaking a project. Richman (2002, p. 85) defines project deliverables as tangible and verifiable results of a project. In this regard, it would be factual to say that the project deliverables in East West Link Project is a road connecting the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road. However, a proper definition of project deliverable in this particular project goes beyond this. The project deliverable in this project will be a dual carriage highway connecting Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road. This new road must meet the Australian standards for road, and it must be completed within the set deadline of 2019-2020. The project must be undertaken within the set budget of eight billion US dollars, unless there is a justifiable reason that would make the project more costly. The project must also be completed without contravening any state laws to avoid a scenario where its usage may be put on hold when it is already completed. In order to achieve the desired project deliverable, it is necessary that the relevant stakeholders involve the relevant procedures and workforce. A good output can only be generated when the input, the system, and the environmental factors are positive. This is explained in the General System theory explained below.

General System Theory

This theory holds that a project can only be successful if the input and the system meets the requirement. This means that at no given time will a wrong input or a wrong system yield the desired result.

General System Theory

Various environmental forces affect the process of achieving project deliverables. This means that the team must work fully aware that these forces need to be controlled in order to achieve the desired results.

Project Constrains

According to Murch (2004, p. 49), every project must have some constrains that may affect its operations in one way or the other. There are always set limits for every project. The limits can be set based on time within which the project is to run, the scope of the project, quality needed, and the budget that is assigned. All the stakeholders must observe these constrain in order to avoid cases of delays, over expenditure or going beyond the scope of the project.

Scope

Defining scope of a given project is always necessary, especially in cases where the project is involving the usage of public funds. The Victorian State Government has a responsibility of ensuring that the scope of this project is not only clear to the project members, but also to the public because they form part of it given that they are the financiers. The East West Link Project scope is to build a dual carriageway that would facilitate movement of traffic between the Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Road. The road should be of high quality as per the Australian quality standards. The project does not cover any other roads other than this link.

Quality

As Heldman (2011, p. 78) observes, quality is one of the most important project constrains that must always be observed closely in any given project. In this project, awarding of contract will be based on Australian Standard AS2124 of 1992. This Act specifies that contract should always be assigned to the most qualified candidate in order to achieve the most desirable results. Upon its completion, the road must meet the quality specifications as set by this Act and other general guiding principles set by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in this country.

Schedule

The time within which this project should be completed is set to be six years beginning in late 2014 and running until 2020. This means that the stakeholders in this project must ensure that it has all the needed resources that would enable it beat this deadline. All the activities that are to be undertaken in this project should be clearly defined in a way that would enable the stakeholders to understand time each activity would need. The project manager must ensure that each activity is assigned a duration that is commensurate with the tasks to be carried out (Turner 2007, p. 60). When assigning time to various activities, it is necessary that the project manager and other senior officials to determine the individuals who will participate in them. Each activity should have the right labor force, and whenever a skilled human resource is needed, it should be provided to ensure that each task is completed as per the specification. The project manager must give a lot of emphasis on the planning stage, concept development stage, System level design stage, detail design stage, testing and refinement stage, and production rum-up stage. The schedule for this project is clearly outlined in the appendix of this report.

Budget

In order to achieve the desired results, it is important that this project be given sufficient resources that would help it achieve the set goals. For this to be possible, the project management team must make an effort to ensure that a detailed budget of the expenses that are to be incurred in this project is given. Developing a detailed budget needs to be done by project members who have financial knowledge of the estimated costs that the project would incur for it to be completed. The process of estimating costs is very important, and care should be taken to avoid any form of speculative estimates. The estimates should be based on real figures that have been proven. East West Link Project budget estimates can be determined through numerous ways. The first and most recommended way of determining the estimates is through expert judgment. In this approach, an expert who will analyze all the activities to be undertaken and then estimate the exact cost of the project, would determine the budget estimates. This approach is very valuable given the magnitude of the project.

Another possible approach would be analogous estimating (Kendrick 2011, p. 78). This involves using past estimates of similar projects. This means that the project management team would conduct research on past estimates of similar projects. This approach is not a viable approach to estimate the cost. This is because the environmental factors at that time, including inflation rates, may be different, making the cost of the project differ. However, it is possible to use such past estimates to moderate the budget estimates.

Another possible approach would be to determine the cost of quality. This involves identifying specific activities within the project and determining the desired quality, and the exact cost of that quality. It is important for the project management team to include miscellaneous expenses in the budget to cushion the project against future occurrences that may demand for increased funding (Roberts 2011, p. 89). This will cover for such issues as inflation that may occur during implementation of the project, or any other costs that were not anticipated during the lifetime of the project. The budget estimate for this project is given in the appendix.

Resources

For a project to be completed successfully, it is important to state clearly the resources needed and the sources of these resources. This means that every department in the project will know all the resources assigned to it, and how these resources are to be used to achieve their departmental goals. Resources can be categorized as direct resources or indirect resources. These two types of resources are defined below.

Direct resources

These resources contribute directly to various activities within the project. Crundwell (2008, p. 72) says that direct resources are those that directly contribute to the development of the project, from the time it begins to the time it is officially declared complete. They include human resource, plants and equipment, and the facilities. These three resources must be managed diligently because failure or success of a project depends on them. Managing technical human resource needs to be done in a sound manner. The concerned managers responsible for managing human resource must realize that the services of these technical human resources are core to achieving success in the project. They should remain motivated and focused on what should be achieved when the project is finally completed. The plant and facilities should also be used with care and precision in order to ensure that they give the precision needed. The team must realize that the Victorian State Government expects this project to be a success and therefore, has invested in it very heavily.

Indirect resources

These resources are needed in this project to make other resources available or to make a given output. Indirect resources are consumables, which cannot be directly identified when the project is completed. They include such resources as finance, the materials, and other non-specific supplies needed to make this project a reality. Harrison and Lock (2004, p. 51) note that it is important for the project management team to understand all the needed indirect resources within the project. For instance, it may be necessary for the project management team to specify all the items that would be purchased and all other costs that may be incurred when the project begins. This would help in defining the amount of finance that would be needed in the project.

Risks

When undertaking various activities in a project, it is important to know some of the risks, and their possible solution. This will help in to achieve the expected results. The East West Link Project is very involving, and various stakeholders are optimistic with it. The project management team must do everything within its powers to ensure that it addresses all issues that may pose any risk in order to meet the specifications given by the Victorian State Government. Complexity can arise because of organizational complexity or technological complexity (Gido & Clements 2009, p. 61). In this project, the most probable project complexity that may be experienced may arise due to technological complexity. This arises in cases where the involved workforce is forced to deal with the emerging technologies to complete the project.

The Law

The Victorian State Government has given its intention to award a contract to willing and viable contractors who have the capacity to undertake the East West Link Project. For this project to be completed successfully, and with all parties holding to their promise, there must be a binding law that would ensure that every party holds to its promise. Contract law will be used in order to make the relationship of both party legally binding (Greene & Stellman 2007, p. 98). The following five stages will be taken by the parties involved to make this contract binding.

Agreement

There must be an agreement between the Victorian Sate Government and the firm that will be contracted to complete the project. The Victorian State Government will make an offer, and if the offer pleases the contractor, it will issue acceptance.

Consideration

When the contractor issues an acceptance, the Victorian State Government will pay the price by giving the contractor the needed money or properties as promised in the offer. In return, the contractor must pay the price of undertaking the East West Link Project.

Intention

The two parties must enter into this contract under mutual agreement. This means that neither of them should be coerced to accept terms that it considers unfavorable or oppressive. This will make the agreement legally binding.

Capacity

The parties involved in making this agreement must have the capacity of entering into the agreement. This means that on the side of the Victorian State Government, it should be top officials of the government, while on the side of the contractor it should be its top management officers. All parties must be over 18 years, and of the right mental status.

Formalities

Other formalities must also be specified in this agreement. The contract must specify how to end the contract. This can be based on completion of the project, when both parties accepts that the project should be ended, when one of the parties breach the contract or where one party is under frustration due to the contract.

Conclusion

It is clear from the discussion that the East West Link Project is a very ambitious project that needs to be undertaken with a lot of precision. Various stakeholders are expecting success out of this project, and failure is not an option. This means that all the project members assigned various other duties such as the quality assurance, budgeting, planning among other activities should be vibrant and determined to see this project brought to a successful completion. The Victorian State Government has a responsibility of providing all the resources needed in this project. Through teamwork, dedication, and commitment, this project can be made a reality.

List of References

Chin, G 2004, Agile project management: How to succeed in the face of changing project requirements, AMACOM, New York.

Curlee, W & Gordon, R 2011, Complexity theory and project management, Wiley, Hoboken.

Fox, W & Van, W 2007, A guide to project management, Juta, Cape Town.

Gido, J & Clements, J 2009, Successful project management, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason.

Greene, J & Stellman, A 2007, Head first PMP, O’Reilly, Sebastopol.

Harrison, F & Lock, D 2004, Advanced project management: A structured approach, Gower, Aldershot.

Heldman, K 2011, Project management jumpstart, Wiley, Hoboken.

Kanda, A 2011, Project management: A life cycle approach, PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi.

Kendrick, T 2011, 101 project management problems and how to solve them: Practical advice for handling real-world project challenges, American Management Association, New York.

Crundwell, F 2008, Finance for Engineers – Evaluation and Funding of Capital Projects, Springer, London.

Murch, R 2004, Project management: Best practices for IT professionals, Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River.

Richman, L 2002, Project management step-by-step, American Management Association, New York.

Roberts, P 2011, Effective project management, Kogan Page, London.

Turner, J 2007, Gower handbook of project management, Gower, Aldershot.

Young, T 2010, Successful project management, Kogan Page, London.

Appendix

The budget

The budget

The Gantt Chart

Kindly see the attachment.

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