The first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) excavating Brisbane’s Cross River Rail’s twin tunnels has dug underneath the Brisbane River and is now moving northwards.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the successful under river crossing by TBM Else is a major milestone for this transformational project.
“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,” she said.
“Not only is this project streamlining our public transport network, it is also a vital part of our economic recovery.
Palaszczuk said everything about Cross River Rail is big.
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“When so many work sites around Australia shut down last year because of the coronavirus threat the tunnel project fired up.
“It is putting more than $4 million a day into the economy and more than 2400 people have worked on the project since it started,” she said.
“When trains start running to parts of the inner city in 2025, more than 7700 workers, including 450 trainees and apprentices can boast they had a hand in building the project which will re-define people’s journeys to parts of the inner city.”
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said Cross River Rail will change the way commuters travel to, from and through Brisbane in the future, and it is creating 7700 jobs for Queensland.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“The TBMs are lining the tunnel walls as they go with 25,000 big precast concrete segments, weighing 4.2 tonnes each.”
Member for McConnel, Grace Grace said the project is delivering a huge 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 when they need it the most.”
Grace said the exciting milestone of crossing under the river was also one of the most technically challenging parts for crews.
“As you could imagine, burrowing under the Brisbane River with two 1350-tonne mega machines has required extensive planning,” she said.
“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.”