Asset management

Table of Contents

1.4 Background to Structures Assets in Australia and New Zealand

There are approximately 33 500 road bridges in Australia and 17 000 road bridges in New Zealand in public ownership. More than 800 national, state and local agencies are responsible for managing those bridges. Each of these agencies is required to select an approach to structures management to suit its particular circumstances.

For national and state roads alone, the estimated replacement value of road structures and major culverts in Australia and New Zealand as at June 2014 was approximately A$48b and NZ$7.5b respectively. Further details are shown in Table 1.1.

Expenditure on maintenance of bridges on national and state roads in 2013–14 was estimated to be in the order of A$100m in Australia and NZ$15m in New Zealand. Those amounts do not include the money invested and spent annually:

  • by local government on its local road network
  • on numerous other structures to which the principles of structure management should equally be applied, e.g. minor culverts, noise walls, large sign support structures, geotechnical structures (retaining walls, rock anchors, gabion walls, protective beaching), tunnels (structural aspects only), etc.

Bridges and culverts typically form the vast majority of structures managed by road agencies. Road agencies usually also manage other structures such as tunnels, large sign supports, retaining walls, noise barriers, pollutant traps and buildings.

The challenge in highway structures management is to ensure that all structures in a road network remain fit–for-purpose over the design life of the asset at minimum life-cycle cost.

A comprehensive and effective management system which ensures the reliability, safety and retained value of the asset is an essential tool to assist the responsible agency to meet this challenge.

The purpose of the structures asset management framework is to underpin consistency in Australia and New Zealand in defining and collecting data on bridge inventory and condition. Improvements in consistency in data collection will facilitate interaction between road agencies in the interests of improving bridge management practice, particularly in data manipulation, analysis and interpretation, and more uniformity in reporting.

Table 1.1: Recognised value of road structures on national and state roads in Australia and New Zealand (June 2014)

Road agencyReplacement valueAccumulated depreciationWritten down value
Roads and Maritime Services (Roads and Maritime), NSWA$17.332bA$5.196bA$12.136b
Roads Corporation Victoria (VicRoads), VICA$8.216bA$2.766bA$5.447b
Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland (TMR)(1), QLDA$15.092bA$4.942bA$10.149b
Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA), WAA$5.201bA$1.473bA$3.728b
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), SAA$2.114bA$0.735bA$1.379b
Department of State Growth TasmaniaA$1.777bA$0.538bA$1.238b
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Northern Territory (DIPL), NTA$1.108bA$0.451bA$0.657b
Territory Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCS), ACTA$1.134bA$0.016bA$1.118b
Australian total:A$51.958bA$16.117bA$35.914b
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA)NZ$7.489bNZ$2.832bNZ$4.648b

1 Source: Updated from Austroads (2000).