Toowoomba Second Range Crossing

30 October 2019

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing

Creating an alternative route through the Queensland’s Darling Downs region was a three-year project commencing in 2016, budgeted at $1.60 billion dollars. For local Caterpillar˚ dealer Hastings Deering, the task of maintaining the fleet of 220 Cat˚ machines along the long-haul site was a full-time job.

The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a 41-kilometre stretch, adds an alternative, critical link between Brisbane and towns to the west southwest of Toowoomba. Spanning from the Warrego Highway at Helidon Spa in the east, to the Warrego Highway at Charlton and onto the Gore Highway at Athol in the west, Hastings Deering saw an opportunity to ensure the success and timing of the project. Creating a new role to support the equipment operations during the three-year period, Hastings Deering proved their value with customer service.

With over 35 years’ experience at Hastings Deering, Mr Russell Hoffmann gained the role of Customer Support Representative for the project, commencing in July 2016. Wielding a specialised Cat branded Ute, Mr Hoffmann was spotted daily providing parts delivery and equipment support for the contractors working along the project route.

russell hoffman with his specialist ute

Mr Hoffmann reports, "I'd spend time between the west and the east in one or two round trips along the Crossing daily. Once the project kicked off and we had an idea of the machines there, some part stocking was done for our Toowoomba branch.  Of course, with the Brisbane network not far away and the Yatala distribution center, parts supply was near seamless."

"Service support and new equipment supply was a major part of our service during the project. The Toowoomba Field Service team was run off their feet during the three years, offering on-site service support. This allowed customers and the contractors along the project to minimise downtime and ensure superior efficiency of each machine. It was an optional service for the contractors and one we are proud to have created," Mr Hoffmann continued.

With 41km of works split into sections and undertaken by various contractors, Cat equipment accounted for eighty per cent of the earthmoving equipment. Mr Hoffmann says, "Our service teams did everything from engine and transmission change-outs to general repairs and warranty support The Parts and Service teams in the Toowoomba Business Center did an amazing job over the course of this project and deserve a high commendation for the support they offered."

"The Second Crossing contained 24 bridges which heightened the complexity and workload. One in particular "The Viaduct" has a pier just one-meter shy of Brisbane's Gateway Bridge at 51 meters," Mr Hoffmann says. "There were challenges and highlights during the project but the contractors stayed on track. We even had the first delivery of Cat 637K Scrapers in Australia - four of them - arrive on-site which was exciting and new for us all.

viaduct image

The project involved many extensive cut and fill operations particularly in the eastern sections, with one of the fills being the largest ever undertaken in the southern hemisphere. The sheer scope of the work was sometimes unfathomable, with total of 10 million cubic metres of cut earthworks determining the necessity of reliable equipment.

While the project ended last month, the Mr Hoffmann's values in customer relations hasn't. He continues greeting his contacts in each respective role as their daily meetings over the three-year period became priceless. The quality and reputation of Cat equipment is substantiated by the people support them.

For more information & Photo credit: Department of Transport and Main Roads

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