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Geotechnical drilling investigations have begun on Queensland’s $5 billion underground bus and train project, with work commencing beneath the Brisbane River.
Premier Campbell Newman, who joined main roads minister Lawrence Springborg and lord mayor Graham Quirk at the Sea Lift 7 barge where the drill is located, said it is a significant milestone for the initiative.
“The drilling work is one of the first steps in a project that will revolutionise public transport in Brisbane,” he explained.
“This exciting transport solution will create 18,400 full-time jobs and reinforce this government’s commitment to deliver better infrastructure and better planning.”
According to the premier, the barge will move between Lower River Terrance Park in Kangaroo Point and the City Botanic Gardens over the next few days collecting samples.
The drill will be used to create at least 13 holes in the riverbed, each up to 60 metres deep. Drilling work is due to be finished by April.
Mr Springborg noted that the underground bus and train tunnel will be carved using the biggest hard rock tunnel-boring machine ever used in Australia.
“A land-based drilling program will commence at the end of January at various locations along the proposed alignment to confirm the depth and location of the tunnel and stations,” he explained.
The 5.4-kilometre north-south tunnel is expected to double the capacity of bus and rail networks in south-east Queensland, although it is unclear when railway engineering works will be completed.
New underground stations will be located at Woolloongabba, George Street and Roma Street, with Mr Quirk stating it will be a “critical new link” in the local area’s transport offerings.
The terms of reference for the initiative’s environmental impact statement were released earlier this week, indicating the beginning of an in-depth whole-of-government assessment of the possible lasting effects of the project.