Construction is under way on the Queensland Labor Government's $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project poised to transform the South-East Queensland transport network.
Confirmation was yesterday issued by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that initial heavy works have now commenced on the 5.9km tunnel, which will facilitate the connection from Dutton Park all the way to Roma Street Street station, as it spans under the Brisbane River.
LNP leader Tim Nicholls has declined to match the Palaszczuk Government’s Budget pledge to build the cross river rail should he be elected, leaving open the possibility of pulling the pin on the project.
Although the opposition leader claimed he would only work with the Federal Government on the project, Nicholls conceded that there was a need for another link across the river but didn't support the project as it currently stands.
"We'll look at the business case, we’ve said we want to see whether the business case actually stacks up,” he said.
Bore drilling is anticipated to begin at the Woolloongabba site within a month, with an industry briefing on Wednesday to provide a project update for stakeholders regarding major stages of work. Premier Palaszczuk said the Buy Queensland procurement policy will be a major factor in ensuring the State Government involves as many local construction companies with the project as possible.
The 10.2 km Cross River Rail is expected to create 1500 jobs each year until its estimated completion in 2024.
The railway line will record a depth of around 28.5 metres under the riverbed, reaching its deepest point of 33 metres beneath the city as it runs between Albert and Roma Street.
Part of the immense project includes the development of four new train stations located in Dutton Park, Woolloongabba, Albert and Roma streets in the city, as well as the RNA showgrounds in Bowen Hills.
According to Urbis, the new train stations would lead to an increase in development, with a science centre on Boggo Rd as a prime example. Urbis' national director James Tuma stated that the transport infrastructure would be a “major driver of private sector investment”.
Tuma also indicated that Metro stations such as Buranda would benefit from the major upgrades.
AEG Ogden chief executive Harvey Lister has big plans for the Roma St, with a $2.5 billion entertainment and education precinct on the cards. The precinct will include an arena as part of the $944 million metro transformation into a grand central interchange of buses and trains.