Australian Alliance Partners Build History with the Ballina Bypass


The Ballina Bypass was a $640 million project that involved the construction of a major highway bypass with 12 kilometers of local road upgrades, three arches, and 19 bridges, all of which were on a firm four-year timeline.

Additionally, this project came with significant uncertainties due to its expansive size, unpredictable environmental and weather factors, unique safety concerns, a very tight funding cap, in addition to high-risk traffic factors.

In fact, the Ballina Bypass was one of the most geotechnically challenging projects in Australian history.

Based on the complexity and demands of the project, a decision was made to pursue an alliance approach—an integrated approach that brought together five different partner organizations at a time when large scale alliances were not only a new concept, but the vast majority of staff would need to adopt a whole host of alliance behaviors for effective delivery.

And in spite of many unprecedented challenges for a project of this magnitude, alliance partners, with JMW’s support, were able to deliver key project milestones seven months in advance, with cost reductions in excess of $100 million, and a staff churn rate of only 5% (well below the industry average of 20% - 25%).

To do this, all stakeholders were tasked with building and managing a new alliance that would require changing mindsets and developing a new kind of work culture focused on transparency, collaboration, and “owning the whole.”

And to capitalize on this new dynamic and maximize its impact, it was imperative to seize any occurrences of breakdowns—which were considered highly likely—and quickly turn them into opportunities for breakthroughs in new ways of adjusting and approaching the work in order to deliver key results as required.


Despite the numerous challenges, alliance partners were able to achieve a broad range of unprecedented outcomes like…

  • Delivery of the southern bypass section of the highway seven months ahead of schedule
  • Elimination of traffic conflict areas at a critical intersection and at two “black spots” where traffic crashes had historically been concentrated
  • Successful implementation of seven different treatments to address the uncertainties of soft soils, including the use of vacuum consolidation for the first time in Australia
  • Development and implementation of an innovative flood gap strategy
  • Innovative design and construction works, including construction of a concrete arch required to bend nearly 90 degrees — a design never before attempted and one achieved through close collaboration between alliance manufacturers and designers
  • New approaches to quality assurance
  • Successful traffic staging attributed to strong collaboration between traffic experts and road designers, with zero incidents reported during set up of 10 major traffic switches
  • Direct cost reduction in excess of $100 million from the concept design
  • Staff churn of less than 5%, compared with an industry norm of 20% to 25%
  • A strategic safety culture campaign culminating in two periods of 1,000,000 man hours Lost Time Injury Free, attributed to innovative safety management techniques

These results and many more led to the Ballina Bypass receiving major national and regional awards for excellence in safety, innovation, workplace health and safety, alliance implementation, and engineering and environmental management.

In addition, JMW was awarded the prestigious Association of Management Consulting Firms’ Spotlight Award (in the Human Capital category) for our work with the Alliance.

For more information on this award-winning project, and how JMW can help you and your team reach the pinnacle of Major Project Performance, feel free to reach out to Jamie Tiska, Senior Coordinator, JMW Project Assessments Team  at +1 475 350 4432  or via email at


JMW was engaged by the Alliance for transformational support from the early stages of the bid process right through final delivery of the entire project.

Key support areas and initiatives included:

  • Development of a Performance Framework capturing the best experience and knowledge of all parties and resulting in the establishment of agreed-upon Alliance Principles
  • Frequent and transparent communications from project leadership
  • High-performance workshops and coaching for members of the Alliance Leadership and Management Teams to develop critical leadership capabilities
  • Alignment workshops with key players to ensure collaboration and progress against targets
  • Launch sessions with the broader project organization for alignment on performance commitments and establish a common language for managing and fulfilling them
  • Mentoring on re-aligning behaviours to the Alliance Principles
  • Regular Alliance Health Checks to gauge effectiveness of management, communication, and implementation of principles
  • Development of a culture of “owning the whole” (vs. just one’s own part) from leadership to the front line

And as a testament to these forward-thinking alliance partners and JMW’s proven transformational methodologies, the positive results of the Ballina Bypass were truly groundbreaking.

Forty Years of Transforming Major Capital Project Performance

JMW is a global transformation consultancy that empowers leaders to shape the future through time-tested methodologies that have accelerated the performance of more than 75 major projects around the world.

And while the majority of major projects run over budget, have significant delays, or both…it doesn’t have to be that way.

Research shows that 65% of missed targets on major projects originate from people, organization, and governance issues that can easily be avoided through JMW’s proprietary approach to performance.

That approach has enabled JMW to provide over 40 years of high-value support for major project leaders confronting human capital issues that can hinder the reliable delivery of on-target performance.

For example, JMW has had the privilege to help leaders of major projects…

  • Beat all reasonable expectations: The project teams for a $600M offshore oil platform with a 20-year history of failed development attempts aligned on results to commit to, and delivered the project six months ahead of schedule at 80% of their agreed budget
  • Build integrated project teams that perform: Owners and contractors came together and worked collaboratively toward a common vision to deliver a $800M major intercity road four months ahead of schedule, with nearly $40M in savings
  • Turn around underperforming projects: Two misaligned contractors on a $5B processing facility project that was nearly three months behind came together with shared commitments to overcome obstacles, and were able to meet all key deliverable deadlines and fully recover the timeline
  • Advance key stakeholder support: After an upgrade to a major metropolitan water system was threatened by community resistance, the project teams worked collaboratively with key stakeholders to gain support and deliver on time, 22% under budget

These are just a small sample of the results JMW has delivered on over 75 major projects over the last 40 years. And with...

A Proven Team Unparalleled in its Energy, Authenticity and Listening, Our Stance for Our Clients’ Success Drives Everything We Do…

JMW is Committed to Transforming Major Project Performance and Empowering Leaders to Shape for Many Years to Come

For more information on how JMW can help you and your team reach the pinnacle of Major Project Performance, feel free to reach out to Jamie Tiska, Senior Coordinator, JMW Project Assessments Team at +1 475 350 4432  or via email at