Dr Devon Mothersille appointed specialist consultant to the Department of Transport, South Western Victoria, Australia – May 2020

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most beautiful locations and arguably delivers one of the world’s greatest driving roads. Recent studies by the Department of Transport (DoT) in South Western Australia revealed the need for a detailed inspection and condition assessment of an anchored slope, located along the route, about 148km southwest of Melbourne.

Travel restrictions imposed by the Australian government, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, has necessitated a novel approach to this work. Like many sectors, the geotechnical engineering industry has had to adapt to accommodate the challenging times the world currently faces.

Recently, Dr Mothersille, through his consultancy Geoserve Global Ltd, was appointed specialist consultant to support the excellent team at the DoT. The DoT must address technically complex issues with the existing anchored rock slope. The logistical constraints associated with the site location meant that the examination of digital photographs allowed an initial assessment of the anchored rock slope. However, this progressed to the use of 3D UAV photogrammetry, where the use of drones, in conjunction with state-of-the-art software, created high-resolution 3D digital models of the anchored structure (see Figure 1).

Dr Mothersille is currently analysing these models from a rock mechanics and rock anchoring perspective to select anchors that will be subjected to detailed investigation to assess their service performance and condition. Following this, strategies will be developed for progressing the investigation remotely, without compromising the level of technical excellence required.  

Figure 1: Typical screenshot captured from the 3D model created by the use of UAV photogrammetry techniques