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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    TUNNELLING UNDERWAY ON AIRPORT LINK AND NORTHERN BUSWAY (WINDSOR TO KEDRON)

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    TUNNELLING UNDERWAY ON AIRPORT LINK AND NORTHERN BUSWAY (WINDSOR TO KEDRON)

    Tunnelling is underway on the Northern Busway between Windsor and Kedron, Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe announced today.

    Mr Hinchliffe said two (only one operating now) 135 tonne roadheader machines had completed 45m of the 700m Northern Busway tunnel - part of the congestion busting $4.8 billion Airport Link project.

    He said the 18.2m machine was cutting through rock to carve the 12 metre-wide tunnel between Truro St, Windsor and Chalk St, Lutwyche.

    Airport Link is also making great progress with more than 3.3km of a total 15km of Airport Link project tunnels already dug.

    “The Northern Busway will slash travel times for commuters from the Northern suburbs travelling to and from the Brisbane CBD,’’ Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “By 2016 this busway will cater for 47,000 trips per day, more than five times the current number, and a huge 78,000 daily trips by 2026 – or one bus every 20 seconds.

    "To meet future demand on Lutwyche Road bus services, the massive roadheaders operating at Truro Street will excavate a total of 700 metres of the 1.5km of busway tunnel.

    “Ultimately the Northern Busway and Airport Link will reduce traffic on Lutwyche Rd by up to 45 per cent.’’

    Mr Hinchliffe said the congestion busting busway was part of the $4.8 billion Airport Link project to cut travel times and eliminate 18 sets of traffic lights.

    The existing Northern Busway runs from the Brisbane CBD to the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. Planning is underway for next stage of the Northern Busway between Kedron and Bracken Ridge.

    “Brisbane’s peak-hour traffic and travel times are currently the highest of any Australian capital city,’’ Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “That’s why the Bligh Government has a peak workforce of 2,700 people working hard to alleviate the peak hour crawl.

    “The combined Airport Link projects will change the way we travel.’’

    Mr Hinchliffe said the two-lane busway tunnel was being constructed beneath the surface of Lutwyche Road - and above the Airport Link mainline road tunnel.

    “The busway tunnel is under construction beneath the surface of Lutwyche Road and above the Airport Link mainline road tunnel, making it a complex and challenging engineering operation,” he said.

    “The two projects will require a total of 15km of tunnelling, encompassing road and busway tunnels and connecting ramps.

    “Since tunnelling began more than one year ago, the project’s 13 roadheader machines have excavated more than 5km of tunnels, with more than 2.5km excavated from the Truro Street site alone.’’

    Northern Busway tunnelling is expected to continue until early 2011, with the busway scheduled for completion in 2012, ahead of Airport Link.

    The $444 million Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) is part of a busway network for Brisbane that will eventually span the city and integrate with the existing rail network to complete the city’s major public transport system.

    Mr Hinchliffe said the Northern Busway project included new bus stations at Lutwyche and Kedron which would be designed to re-connect local communities with pedestrian and cycle access.

    “Lutwyche station would include a plaza and underpass to allow pedestrians and cyclists to access inbound and outbound platforms without crossing Lutwyche Road,’’ Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “Kedron Brook Busway station will have a passenger drop off zone increased access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists with enhanced pathway networks, the Kedron Brook busway bridge, the re-alignment of Perry Street and signalised crossings at Lutwyche Road.

    “This is Australia's largest road infrastructure project, creating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs while delivering the congestion-busting solutions that South-East Queensland needs. I would like to respectfully thank residents for their ongoing patience.”

    The project, along with the Airport Link toll road and the Airport Roundabout Upgrade, is part of a massive $4.8 billion infrastructure investment on Brisbane's Northside.

    AIRPORT LINK FAST FACTS:

    • Six million hours worked
    • One million plants, including 5300 mature trees, to be planted during project
    • 10,000 direct and indirect jobs generated
    • 45 per cent traffic reduction expected on Lutwyche Rd by 2012
    • By 2016, the busway will cater for 47,000 public transport trips each day - more than five times the current number.
    • By 2026 the busway will cater for 78,000 daily trips by 2026 – one bus every 20 seconds.
    • 25 bridges, 15km of tunnels and 7km of new roads complete with bus and transit lanes to be constructed
    • 18 sets of traffic lights to be removed
    • More than 13km of new or improved cycle and walkways and three hectares of new parkland in 2012
    • 13 x 18.2m, 135 tonne roadheader machines in use on tunnels (this will rise to 16 in coming months)
    • Two Tunnel Boring Machines will begin operating mid year from Toombul.

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