The Ring Road – Community Consultation and Engagement

The Challenge

The Queensland Department of Main Roads (DMR) was preparing the business case for Sections 2 and 3 of the Townsville Ring Road.  There was a great deal of public scepticism about the $119 million project arising from the many delays leading up to the construction of Section 1.  The public also continued to be critical of some aspects of Section 1 of the Ring Road.   DMR was required to undertake community consultation on the concept design for Sections 2 and 3, but wanted to ensure the focus was on the new project rather than the previous section and that this focus was maintained over the life of the project.

The Solution

Balfour Consulting undertook householder research in the project catchment before devising strategies and implementation plans.   Two key community demographics were identified by the research, along with preferred methods of receiving information.  Throughout the project, communications and community activities were designed to meet these requirements.  In addition, key concerns and issues were listed along with plain English answers for use on the project website and at public displays. Key stakeholder surveys were undertaken at regular intervals over four years to monitor the effectiveness of the community engagement and to obtain feedback on potential improvements. A post-completion survey of residents provided information on the performance and effectiveness of the project team.

The Outcome

  • Media coverage of the project was positive over four years.
  • Over 400 people visited the site on special tours, plus another 340 attended a community day – all recording positive comments on the project.
  • Over 2400 adults (children not counted) attended various public displays.
  • Regular surveys of key stakeholder groups provided valuable feedback and returned performance ratings between 8 and 9.3 out of 10. 
  • Won the overall Queensland Engineering Excellence Award for Community Engagement, PRIA (Qld) Excellence Award for Community Engagement and National Golden Target Award for Community Engagement.