Old infrastructure gets a makeover

By Country News

A Shepparton business is bringing old technology back to life to revitalise ageing infrastructure across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

Fast Track Fabrication and Design in McGill St has been working to create four large steel structures — each several tonnes in weight, several metres tall and slightly curved — as part of a major engineering project commissioned by Goulburn-Murray Water.

The four replacement radial gates are for the Stuart Murray Canal off-take at Goulburn Weir — one of the primary structures controlling accurate irrigation deliveries to hundreds of farmers producing millions of dollars in agriculture production.

Originally installed in 1967, the old gates are rusty, degraded and require replacement to ensure continued customer deliveries.

Unfortunately, these 50-year-old gates were one-off products.

‘‘This is where we come in,’’ Fast Track director David Molloy-Hunt said.

‘‘We can look at what is available, what will work and how we can deliver from concept through to design and fabrication.’’

Fast Track started in 2011 and is a specialist in water industry engineering, carrying out design and fabrication jobs from Mildura to Albury-Wodonga.

‘‘These sorts of projects, like replacing these large gates that are more than 50 years old, allow us to grow and develop as an innovative design and manufacturing firm,’’ Mr Molloy-Hunt said.

‘‘We like a challenge and people come to us for that reason.’’

Fast Track Fabrication and Design has been successful in tendering for G-MW capital works projects for a number of years, with jobs at Dartmouth Dam, Cairn Curran, Newlyn Reservoir and the Nyah pumped irrigation district.

‘‘Every year G-MW awards millions of dollars in contract work to help us maintain the $5billion asset base we operate to harvest, store and deliver water to our customers,’’ G-MW infrastructure and assets general manager Marc Lo Ho Kee said.

‘‘It’s pleasing to see local businesses successfully bid for these projects and grow their skill base and expertise.’’

Mr Molloy-Hunt said the engineering and design needs of the water industry in northern Victoria were paying dividends for Fast Track Fabrication and Design.

‘‘In January last year we had myself as the sole engineer, two directors and two designers,’’ he said.

‘‘Today we have three more engineers and another 10 staff in our Shepparton workshop.

‘‘These sort of projects, like the Stuart Murray Canal gates, are our bread and butter — designing from the ground up and delivering the best engineering solution possible to our clients.’’

Replacing the gates began last month and is expected to be finished in July, ensuring the off-take is operational for the start of the irrigation season on August 15.