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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Main Roads
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    History made as tens of thousands walk new Gateway to Queensland


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Main Roads
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    History made as tens of thousands walk new Gateway to Queensland

    Tens of thousands of Queenslanders walked the second Gateway Bridge today to mark the opening of the iconic piece of infrastructure to the public.

    They helped celebrate the completion of an engineering marvel that deployed an epic 11,600 tonnes of steel, 445,000 cubic metres of concrete and 9,100 tonnes of asphalt.

    The special community day featured a fish and chips feast hosted by some of Brisbane’s best providers and a powerful opening ceremony greeted thousands of Queensland families.

    A colourful Walk of Art created by school children from eleven primary schools located along the Gateway corridor greeted Queenslanders as they walked on the centrepiece of the $1.88 billion project for the first time.

    “On top of this, we’re also spending an extra half a billion dollars on additional upgrades to the Gateway and Port of Brisbane Motorways – all up, a massive $2.5 billion investment,” said Premier Anna Bligh.

    “This is a historic day for Queensland and for the thousands of motorists who will use this vital motorway link every day.”

    “This structure is a symbol of how far our State has come since the first Gateway Bridge was completed in 1986.

    “This new bridge has even more to offer the public including a pedestrian walkway and cycle way and dedicated viewing platforms with stunning views of Moreton Bay.

    "In 1986 when the original Gateway Bridge opened, the government of the day held a huge party with fireworks to rival New Year’s Eve.

    "Today’s celebration is just as important. When I look at this wonderful structure I believe that Queenslanders can be proud of how far we’ve come and be confident of a bright future.”

    The Premier said that from today the existing and new Gateway bridge will both be officially known as the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges.

    “Today’s Community Day means thousands of Queenslanders can mark four southbound lanes opening on the second bridge, with further lanes progressively opening as work is completed,” said the Premier.

    Motorists will ultimately have 12 lanes across the river - six northbound and six southbound and all 12 lanes will be open by the end of the year, six months ahead of schedule.

    “We want to give motorists the benefits of those extra lanes as soon as they’re available – every extra lane means an extra 1400 vehicles an hour can cross the river,” said the Premier.

    In addition to the 10 minutes in travel time savings already being experienced by motorists due to free-flow tolling and completed upgrades, motorists travelling across the Gateway and Logan motorway network will now save up to another 15 minutes on their journeys.

    The official opening ceremony for the bridge featured project workers passing over two halves of a locally designed plaque to a meeting point on the main stage where the plaque was officially joined to represent the bridge spanning two sides of the river.

    During the ceremony, renowned didgeridoo player William Barton performed a custom-composed piece while dancers from the Queensland Ballet School performed.

    Works on the new bridge will be completed a full two years sooner than the construction time of the first Gateway Bridge, thanks to production efficiencies and innovative approaches to the bridge’s construction.

    “The Gateway Upgrade Project has been a key part of the Government’s infrastructure agenda and its construction supported the jobs of 6000 workers over the life of the project,” said the Premier.

    Refurbishment of the existing Bridge will begin in June, with the existing three northbound traffic lanes remaining open. New screens, lighting and pavements will be installed over the full six northbound lanes.

    South of the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge, 12 kilometres of upgrades to the motorway between Lytton Road and Mt-Gravatt-Capalaba Road are scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

    Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the original Gateway Bridge project completed in 1986 cost $140 million and included the bridge and four kilometres of motorway from Lytton to Kingsford Smith Drive.

    "Our Gateway Upgrade Project involves construction of a second Bridge, 16 kilometres of upgrades to the Gateway Motorway south of the Gateway bridges and seven kilometres of new motorway north to Nudgee Road," he said.

    "South of the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge, we’re increasing the four-lane motorway to nine lanes between Lytton Road and Wynnum Road, eight lanes between Wynnum Road and Old Cleveland Road, and six lanes from Old Cleveland Road to Miles Platting Road.

    "North of the bridge, we’ve built an entirely new seven-kilometre section of the Gateway Motorway that provides a new access to the Brisbane Airport and a new off-ramp to Kingsford Smith Drive, and includes 17 new bridges."

    Contact 07 32244500

    Progressive opening of lanes this year:

    READY: May – 7 lanes: 4 southbound on new bridge , 3 northbound on existing bridge

    SET: August – 9 lanes: 6 southbound on new bridge, 3 northbound on existing bridge

    GO: Dec – 12 lanes: 6 southbound on new bridge, 6 northbound on existing bridge