Water, materials and waste

Water and waste management are closely regulated on all our assets, and Transurban follows operational environment management plans to ensure handling and disposal is conducted in accordance with these requirements. We look for opportunities to minimise water consumption and waste generation and to minimise our use of materials in the construction of assets.
Our water and waste data are available in the Environmental Data appendix of this report.


We use potable water in our offices, irrigation operations, cleaning and fire safety systems; and during construction (generally for dust control and processing activities). In our tunnel assets, we treat and discharge the groundwater that naturally drains into tunnels via the tunnels’ porous underground aquifers. In our CityLink tunnels in Victoria, to maintain appropriate aquifer and ground stability conditions, we recharge this treated water back into the aquifer.

This year, Transurban used more than 70,000 kL of potable water across our operational assets and offices. We also processed more than 500,000 kL of tunnel groundwater.

Materials and waste

Most of the materials used in road construction and maintenance – such as asphalt, crushed rock, concrete and steel – are non-renewable resources. However, these materials are highly reusable and are recyclable at the end of their lives. Transurban looks for opportunities to recycle and reuse such materials wherever possible. Across our operational roads and offices, we recycled more than 3,840 tonnes of solid waste (58% of total ‘waste’ material) and sent around 2,755 tonnes (42%) to landfill.

Our largest and most varied sources of waste generation are road development projects and major maintenance activities such as asphalt re-sheeting.

When our development projects are included — which have significant recycling of rock, soil and construction materials — we recycled more than 2,379,000 tonnes of material (99.7%), significantly greater than the 6,766 tonnes (0.03%) sent to landfill.

Hornsby Quarry

Regeneration of the Hornsby Quarry began in FY17. Spoil from NorthConnex tunneling will be re-used in the rehabilitation of the 35 hectare quarry – with plans for a community recreational facility to be built on the site by Hornsby Council. More than one million cubic metres of spoil are expected to be delivered to the site from NorthConnex, In FY17, approximately 100,000 cubic metres of spoil had been deposited into the quarry.

EME2 asphalt

The Gateway Upgrade North project successfully completed the first large-scale demonstration of a new type of asphalt in Australia. EME2, a high-modulus (stiff) asphalt designed for use on heavy-traffic roads, has been used in France for more than 25 years. EME2 allows for up to a 20 per cent reduction in the depth of pavements – so less asphalt is needed.

For the Gateway Upgrade North project, we designed, manufactured and placed around 10,000 tonnes of EME2 asphalt along the new southbound lanes of the Deagon Deviation. Using EME2, instead of traditional asphalt, reduced our use of non-renewable resources and lessened fuel use and emissions from avoided truck haulage. The Queensland Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads will monitor the performance of the EME2 demonstration area over the course of its design life, to assess the potential for using EME2 or combination EME2/recycled asphalt in other projects.

Crushed recycled glass on the M2 Macquarie Park Motorscapes projects

The M2 Macquarie Park Motorscapes project in NSW included significant site preparation to clear and revegetate the area, including earthworks and backfilling of stormwater pipe channels. Sand, a non-renewable resource, is frequently used as backfill in projects such as this – but Transurban opted to trial the use of a recycled resource instead: recycled crushed glass (RCG). The 125 tonnes of RCG we used would equal around 66,000 glass soft drink bottles.

RCG is a safe, Environmental Protection Agency-approved backfill material which reduces the demand for virgin materials sourced from non-renewable sources. The RCG used for the M2 Macquarie Park Motorscapes project site was processed locally in Sydney.

Air quality

Air quality is an important environmental measure for our tunnel assets. Specific air quality regulations apply to road tunnels, and vehicle exhaust must be appropriately diverted via tunnel ventilation systems. Transurban monitors, controls and reports on air quality to ensure conditions both on and near our road tunnels are maintained to the high quality standards of our regulatory requirements.

Air quality and emissions measured by Transurban tunnels are included in the Environmental Data appendix of this report.

UN Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this page