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Longest bridge a ‘pleasant drive’ for Hornibrook bus drivers

Bus company Hornibrook is feeling the efficiency from the opening of Australia's longest bridge

By David Goeldner | July 21, 2010

Bus travel times across Australia’s longest bridge have been cut in its first week since opening.

The $315 million Ted Smout Memorial Bridge opened last week, linking the Redcliffe peninsular with the northern Brisbane bayside suburbs of Brighton and Sandgate.

Hornibrook Buslines Bus and Operations supervisor Martin Hall says the company’s drivers are reporting ‘pleasant drives’ across the bridge en route to the bus-rail interchange at Sandgate.

“After one week of opening we noticed small improvements to the efficiency of in-bound services from Redcliffe peninsular to Sandgate,” Hall says.

The new bridge is a duplication of the existing 3-lane Houghton Highway Bridge, often hampered by traffic delays, a rigid 60km speed limit, and tidal flow lane restrictions.

The Ted Smout Bridge operates in-bound only, but with the addition of a T2 lane, Hall says travel time has improved.

Although there is no dedicated bus only lane, the buses are taking advantage of the new T2 lanes, which Hall says isn’t policed, but appears to be working to their advantage.

And it’s proving a boon for Brisbane-bound commuters.

“Hornibrook’s Rothwell to Sandgate service has always been tight, drivers have had to work hard to get the Sandgate train,” Hall says.

“Periodic QR timetable changes also make it a very tight at times.”

Hall says the new bridge is being ‘kinder’ to Hornibrook’s bus fleet.

“The old Houghton highway was starting to shake our buses to pieces,” says Hall.

The Hornibrook fleet is mostly rigid 12.5 metres Scania K230s and Mercedes-Benz O500s.

Hall says the full effects of both bridges in full operation mode won’t be known for at least 11 months after road resurfacing on the Houghton Highway is finished, with road work being done at night and on weekends.

A piece of Hornibrook Buslines’ heritage will also be preserved after the demolition of the original bridge, which has been closed to traffic for several years.

A section of the old Hornibrook Bridge will be rebuilt and preserved as a fishing platform over Hays Inlet.

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