QLD Government announces congestion-busting project

By: Jason Whittaker

Construction is to begin soon on a new underground road tunnel to reduce congestion in and around Brisbane’s main airport. The

Construction is to begin soon on a new underground road tunnel to reduce congestion in and around Brisbane’s main airport.

The State Government has announced BrisConnections will build the tunnel as well as the next section of the Northern Busway and a new fly-over road to fix the gridlocked airport roundabout.

The tunnel will link major and local roads at Bowen Hills with the northern arterials of Gympie Road and Stafford Road at Kedron and Sandgate Road and the East-West Arterial Road in the north-east

The 6.7km tunnel will be the longest in Australia, and will be complemented by the 3km Windsor to Kedron section of the busway and the 750m fly-over.

In announcing BrisConnections as the winning bidder for the project, Premier Anna Bligh referred to the project as "a vital new link between two of South East Queensland’s most important economic sectors—the airport and the city".

Combined, the three projects will cost close to $5 billion, with the underground tunnel alone accounting for $3.4 billion. The project is to start later this year, with the Government forecasting its completion by the middle of 2012.

Bligh says the almost 7km tunnel will allow road users to get around Brisbane much more quickly and efficiently.

"The Airport Drive connection fly-over will help fix one of Brisbane’s biggest bottlenecks and remove the current headache for people trying to reach or leave the airport through the airport roundabout," Bligh says.

The main features of the upgrade include a new four-lane fly-over linking the East-West Arterial Road while the existing roundabout will be replaced by a signalised intersection. East-West Arterial will be expanded from two to three lanes each way and Airport Drive will receive road surface improvements and wider lanes.

But the projects will come at a cost. The Government will implement a toll system for tunnel users at a rate of $4.30 north-south and $3.20 east-west.

Furthermore, the Government will need to resume almost 250 properties, made up of a combination of residential and business. Originally the total was set at 211, but BrisConnection’s planning means another 35 will follow.

"The owners of these homes and businesses have been informed today and I know this has come as a blow as they initially thought they were not affected," Minister for Infrastructure and Panning Paul Lucas says.

He says people and businesses will have more than six months to relocate. Despite having to resume the properties, Lucas, along with Bligh, says the projects will benefit Queensland.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook