LNP Government puts $5b seal on plan to revolutionise inner city public transport
17th Nov 2013
IT'S the $5 billion tunnel poised to revolutionise public transport travel in inner Brisbane.
The Newman Government will on Sunday unveil plans to begin building the 5.4km joint bus and train tunnel linking Dutton Park to Bowen Hills by 2015.
The so-called Brisbane Underground will include a station at Woolloongabba for sports fans and another along George St to service the new entertainment and casino precinct, as well as the university.
A third station will be built alongside busy Roma Street Station.
The alternative tunnel route into the city will alleviate train congestion on the Merivale Bridge, which is near *capacity during peak periods, and reduce the number of buses that regularly back up along Victoria Bridge.
Premier Campbell Newman told The Sunday Mail that the dire need for *another public transport route into the city had suffered because of too much talk and not enough action.
"There's been too much conversation in the past,'' he said. "But we are a government that promised to deliver better planning and infrastructure and that is what we are doing,'' he said.
"We've taken two of Brisbane's major congestion challenges - the Merivale train bridge and the Cultural Centre bus precinct - and come up with an affordable and elegant solution.''
The $5 billion price tag is $3 billion cheaper than the combined cost of Labor's much-hyped Cross River Rail project and the council's *Suburbs to City bus link.
Savings have been partly achieved by taking an inner-city route where the ground is more solid and conducive to tunnelling as well as dumping plans for a Dutton Park *station, which required 108 resumptions, including 60 properties that have already been bought.
The Government will commit to completing the tunnel by 2021 regardless of whether the Brisbane City Council or private sector contributes.
With the Government *determined to avoid a credit rating downgrade under its watch, the cost could spark *debate about asset sales.
The Woolloongabba station is on the existing GoPrint site, which has long been the *subject of sale speculation.
The 15m wide tunnel, which includes dual train lines on the bottom section and two bus lanes on top, will require larger boring machines to those used on either Clem 7 and Airport Link.
Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the State Government and council had come together to develop a "once-in-a-generation" public transport solution for Brisbane.
"This city has had two groups of engineers working on two solutions for two major issues,'' he said.
Fast Facts about the impact of Brisbane Underground:
• 80 per cent increase in Gold Coast trains
• 14 minute reduction in travel time by train between Beenleigh and the CBD
• Four minute reduction in bus travel time from Bracken Ridge, Aspley, Lutwyche and Chermside to the CBD
• Double capacity of trains coming from the south and east of the city
• 180 per cent increase in inner city busway capacity
• 200 buses taken off inner city streets
• 100 buses of Captain Cook Bridge in morning peak period.