Tunnelling has reached completion on Queensland’s Airport Link project, a milestone Queensland Premier Anna Bligh celebrated with the tunnelling crew yesterday as the second tunnel boring machine, ‘Sandy’, broke through at Lutwyche.
“The tunnellers have been working day and night underground on the projects for the last two years. They’ve made an extraordinary contribution to this vital project and they should be proud of a job well done,” said Bligh.
Sandy joins sibling machine ‘Rocksy’ at the end of the tunnelling operations where both units will be dismantled. It took less than a year for the $45 million machine to complete the 2.5-kilometre trip from Toombul to Lutwyche.
“Scheduled to be open in mid-2012, these vital projects are now 80% complete with nearly 15 kilometres of tunnels and ramps excavated between Bowen Hills and Toombul,” said Bligh. “Once operational, the Airport Link will be the first major motorway connecting Brisbane’s CBD with the airport, providing high speed underground travel and eliminating 18 sets of traffic lights.”
According to the Queensland Government, 20 million man hours have been spent on the project, creating 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Once operational, the Airport Link will improve travel times in a city currently experiencing the worst peak hour traffic in the country by providing six new lanes for drivers between Bowen Hills and Kedron and four new lanes between Kedron and Toombul, said BrisConnections CEO Dr Ray Wilson.
Designed and constructed by Thiess John Holland, the Airport Link project, along with the Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) and the Airport Roundabout Upgrade, is part of a $4.8 billion infrastructure investment on Brisbane’s Northside.