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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Airport Link: 6 mins for $4.80
Tony Moore | May 19, 2008 - 10:31AM


The biggest transport project in Australia will go underground to fast-track traffic to Brisbane Airport and avoid congestion in the city's northern suburbs.

Two new underground busway stations will be built on Lutwyche Road, while the $3.4 billion Airport Link road - carrying a toll of about $4.80 when it opens in 2012, but cutting travel time from Bowen Hills to the airport to just six minutes - will also tunnel underground.

The State Government this morning accepted the bid from a consortium including Macquarie Capital Group, Thiess and John Holland - known as BrisConnections - to build Australia's largest public private partnership (PPP).

The largest road and tunnel project in Australia, it includes a 6.7km tunnel running 40 to 50 metres underground from Bowen Hills to the airport roundabout.

Originally, plans for the road contained a mixture of ground-level roads and tunnels. However, under the proposal accepted by the State Government today, almost the entire Airport Link project is underground.

The tunnel will link from Bowen Hills to Brisbane Airport roundabout and avoid 16 sets of traffic lights, slashing travel times.

This is one of three projects the winning team will build, for a total cost of $4.8 billion.

In the other two projects, the disastrous roundabout at Airport Drive will be completely transfigured, with a new four-lane flyover running 750 metres from the East West Arterial Road at Toombul over the Gateway Motorway to connect with the existing Airport Drive by 2011-2012.

Down Lutwyche Road, a two-lane, two-way busway has this morning been confirmed to run three kilometres underground from Constitution Road at Windsor to Sadlier Street at Kedron.

Underground busway stations will be built near Lutwyche Shopping Centre and Kedron Brook

It means "Pop's Fig" a popular fig tree, where Lutwyche Road divides just south of the Lutwyche Shopping Centre, will be preserved because the busway alignment has been shifted to the west.

The Northern Busway project estimates this will halve the travel time between Kedron and the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Premier Anna Bligh described the complex projects as twice the size of the North South Bypass Tunnel.

"In terms of construction costs alone, these projects combined are twice the size of the North South Bypass Tunnel," Ms Bligh said.

"This is a huge step forward for road infrastructure in this city."

The three projects costs $4.8 billion and the State Government has engineered arrangements in which it will pay $1.5 billion and contribute land to the project costs.

The land provided to the Airport Link project alone is valued at $500 million. Estimates of the land values from the other projects were not immediately available.

There are several major changes to the project as it was first made public almost two years ago.

Firstly, the Airport Link tunnel travels underground near Kedron State High School and the school will receive $5.5 million to build a temporary indoor sports hall to compensate for the temporary damage to their oval.

Kedron High and Wooloowin State School will also be air-conditioned and Wooloowin State School will get a new pick-up and drop-off zone to help them recover after the extensive work on Lutwyche Road.

Secondly, there will be major changes along the Kedron Brook intersection (Lutwyche and Gympie roads) with a new network of underground roads and bridges, that includes cycleways.

However it comes at an extra personal cost, with an extra 35 properties needing to be resumed.

Key Components:

* 6.7km 6-lane road tunnel from Bowen Hills to Kedron and Toombul
* New 750m fly-over of Airport Roundabout
* New Northern Busway: RBH - Kedron (tunneled from Lutwyche to Kedron)

More maps and images are available at the official site:

29,096 Posts
The cantract states that the State can build what ever transport infrastructure they like around the project and that it will not be against the contract.

Good news!

Like whatever....
9,177 Posts
I guess while whe have the $200 million dollar tunnel boring machines we may as well do it.

Should be interesting in a few years - especially if the price of oil keeps going up.


2,604 Posts
surely bidding for these projects could only be a one off for consultancies. i know they form alliances to help fund them but the two losing bidders are tipped to have invested $35 million each. this in the end has provided no return.

i wonder if the same level of interest will be forthcoming for Northern Link and the WBTBI tunnel proposals considering the amount of money it costs just to bid.

8,637 Posts
Yeah, you would be pretty pissed off with such significant investment in a tender, only to be told "sorry mate, someone else won."
well i suppose next time it will only mean they will try better at the project..

I dont think the large construction companies are going to turn away from projects like this, with a project budget of $4.8billion, it would be stupid thinking to turn your nose up at it.

10,274 Posts
When you realistically have a one in three chance of winning a project, tehn you can tolerate potentially losing some money in the bid stage. Usually 10% of the project value is used in preparing a proposal - so I think these guys got off lightly due to the sheer size of the project.

With two projects left, it's not like TheissJohnHolland can bid for another one with importing a whole other country as employees, so the other two will probably get one each.

Maglev Believer
2,259 Posts
No The western bypass is yet another tunnel running from Toowong roundabout but to Everton Park. The current plans are for three tunnels from the same portal onto a two lane each way freeway thats already a carpark each morning. Road planning at its best.

So there are still three tunnels that they could bid for and win that doesn't include the busway:
The Northern Link (Toowong - Kelvin Grove)
The Western Bypass (Toowong - Everton Park)
The Southern Link??? (Toowong - Buranda)
Two being pushed by Council while the middle one is a State government project.

Former Member
1,227 Posts
^^ Buranda-Toowong is on the backburner anyway, as a review of the TransApex plan suggested that it won't be viable until at least 2026. I would rather see a cross-town public transport corridor there anyway, but dickhead Paul Lucas ruled that out because "there are already high quality links to the city". Looks as if the, "If you're not going to the CBD then we don't care about you" attitude towards PT is still with us.

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