QLD Cross River Rail project is progressing well towards completion

Monica Gameng   |   May 30, 2021
Cross River Rail

Queensland's massive transport project – the Cross River Rail – is making huge progress as the first of the two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) has made its way under the Brisbane River and is now moving north towards the CBD. 

“Else was now tunnelling its way towards the new Albert Street station, while TBM Merle was making her own crossing to ensure the twin tunnels break through to Roma Street, then onto the Normanby portal by the end of the year. 

“Not only is this project streamlining our public transport network, it is also a vital part of our economic recovery,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

To date, the Cross River Rail development has supported approximately 2,400 jobs and is injecting over $4 million into the economy each day. 

Cross River Rail is anticipated to support up to 7,700 Queensland jobs over the life of the project. This includes opportunities for up to 450 trainees and apprentices. 

“While progress above ground around the surface of the 2-hectare old Brisbane Transit Centre site at Roma Street is impressive, the tunnelling work out of sight and underground is breathtaking. 

“The big boring machines are tunnelling through up to 30 metres of hard rock a day with a crew of up to 15 people working on them at any one time,” Transport Minister Mark Bailey said. 

The massive TBMs are also laying down up to 25,000 big precast concrete segments that weigh about 4.2 tonnes each to line the tunnel walls as they make their way. 

This significant transport infrastructure development is part of the Queensland Government’s $56 billion infrastructure guarantee for the next four years, helping drive the State's economic recovery from the recent pandemic. 

In addition to other transport projects such as the Gympie Bypass and Bruce Highway projects, the Cross River Rail development is also providing a much-needed economic boost to Queensland. 

“Cross River Rail is injecting about $4.1 million into the economy every day, with more than 90 per cent of this flowing directly into Queensland businesses, at a time they need it the most,” Member for McConnel Grace Grace said. 

Ms Grace added that tunnelling under the river is one of the most technically challenging parts of the project for crews. 

“As you could imagine, burrowing under the Brisbane River with two 1,350-tonne mega machines has required extensive planning. 

“Crews undertake probe drilling in front of the TBMs to determine the type of geology they will pass through, while special systems on the machines and the design of the tunnels themselves ensure this new river crossing will be watertight,” Ms Grace said. 

The TBMs will continue digging below the Albert Street project site until they reach Roma Street later this year, where the large machines will continue until they emerge at the northern portal near Normanby by the end of this year. 

“The sheer scale of work happening on this transformational project both on and below the surface means great benefits for the state now and into the future,” Minister Bailey said. 

Alignment_Map_Satellite_08-2019Cross River Rail alignment (source: Cross River Rail)

The Cross River Rail development will deliver a new 10.2-kilometre rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills. The project includes 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels that will run under the Brisbane River and CBD. 

Once operational, Cross River Rail will allow more trains to run more often, which relieves bottlenecks by providing a second river crossing. New roads as well as bus services will be integrated to the project to enable a turn-up-and-go public transport network across the State's South East. 

The project will also deliver new and upgraded stations, including: 

  • Four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street 
  • Two upgraded stations at Dutton Park and Exhibition 
  • Six upgraded stations from Salisbury to Fairfield on Brisbane's Southside 
  • Three new Gold Coast stations 

The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority has also launched a new online tool on its website where the public can track the movements of the two tunnel boring machines in real time as they make their way beneath Brisbane. 

“While progress on the transformational Cross River Rail project might be obvious above ground, what might not be appreciated or understood is just the sheer scale of work taking place beneath our feet. 

“We've been able to use the data the TBMs send us to add the TBM Tracker to our website, which can be viewed on either your computer or your mobile device. 

“It means you can check out where our TBMs are, wherever you are, as they journey under the city,” Cross River Rail Delivery Authority CEO Graeme Newton said. 

The Cross River Rail TBM Tracker can be accessed here. 

Source: Queensland Government – Media Statements; Cross River Rail (1, 2

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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