The Rabbit Proof Fence might be the longest fence in Australia, but the new Eastlink Freeway, which opened in Melbourne in June, now boasts Australia’s highest fence.
Bordering the Ringwood Golf Course adjacent to Eastlink and Canterbury Road in Ringwood, the safety screen designed to stop errant golf balls from the course towers at over 30 metres high for almost 500 metres.
Spokesman for the appointed design and construction firm Country Club International - Mr Mike Baker - said that the Eastlink fence just shades a similar screen they also built at Ryde Parramatta Golf Club in Sydney last year.
“It is the tallest engineered fence in Australia,” Mike Baker said. “More importantly, to meet the specifications set down by Eastlink’s engineers, it incorporates some unique design aspects that we believe have set new world standards.”
Engineered to cope with wind speeds in excess of 46 metres per second (over 165 kilometres per hour) the slim, step tapered steel poles are internally reinforced rather than externally braced to achieve the massive strength requirements.
“In any project of this magnitude the aesthetics are equally important,” Mike Baker said. “The slimline pole design, set at over 20 metre spacings, can only be achieved using a very sheer net with an extremely low wind load rating”.
“The exotic Redden polyester netting from the USA. At 92 per cent sheer, it is almost transparent when looking square on. This significantly reduces the visual intrusiveness of such a large structure” Mr Baker Said.
With safety the paramount concern for Eastlink’s Management authority, SEITA, golf course architects Cashmore Design provided critical advice on the relevant safety design issues, including recommendations for the 30 metre high screen.
Motorists face potential dangers on the road every day. Speeding projectiles, such as golf balls coming in through the windscreen while driving at 100 kilometres per hour should not be one of them.
Eastlink committed $2 million to this project alone to ensure there was no risk of that – at Ringwood at least.