Madison Stahlhut loves numbers.
Like most of her life choices, the decision to become an engineer came down to a mathematical equation.
“In high school, I really liked maths and architecture – so I added them together and got engineering,” Madison said.
At just 21 years-old, Madison will be one of the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) youngest students to complete her engineering degree when she graduates with honours in 2019.
But for the Toowoomba local, the highlight has been the opportunity she had during her university studies to witness the construction process of the Second Range Crossing.
“It was a good opportunity to experience first-hand what a career in engineering would be like,” she said.
“Most people my age would never even dream of being able to experience and be a part of something like the bypass, so it feels really good to say ‘I was there.”
The $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is the largest Australian Government funding commitment to a single road project in Queensland’s history.
When it’s completed mid-2019, the 41 kilometre bypass will provide a new gateway for heavy vehicles and help ease growing traffic pressure on existing highway network.
Since the first sod turning in 2015, USQ engineering students have been getting hands-on experience on the site.
Several classes have undertaken site visits at a number of project locations, with staff from Nexus – the company tasked with building the Second Range Crossing – engaging with students.
USQ Head of Civil Engineering and Surveying School, Professor Kevin McDougall, said the Toowoomba Bypass was a once-in-a-generation project and one that USQ was proud to be a part of.
“Around 25,000 vehicles travel through Toowoomba every day and about 20 per cent of those are heavy vehicles,” Professor McDougall said.
“The Second Range Crossing will mean 5,000 heavy vehicles are diverted away from the city, enhancing liveability for residents in the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley areas.”
Key features of the project include an 800m-long viaduct, four lanes (two lanes each way) from the Warrego Highway at Helidon to Charlton and connections to Mort and Boundary Streets.
“I doubt that anyone in Toowoomba will ever experience a road project like this again,” Professor McDougall said.
“It is incredibly valuable to the Darling Downs community, and provided USQ with an invaluable learning experience for both staff and students.
“These students will help design the future of our region, as engineers, surveyors and urban planners.
“Our students will hit the ground running in the workforce, applying practical analysis and technical principles to design, create, improve and maintain a range of engineered community solutions.”
There are currently 3,650 students studying engineering and surveying at USQ, which offers a comprehensive suite of accredited engineering and surveying programs.
“Engineering is critical to building communities and with a career in engineering you can certainly change the world,” said Professor McDougall.
“And where better to study engineering than the home of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing?”
USQ is proud to be a part of building the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, and its influence in the community.