Clem7 Tunnel Tour

December 21, 2009

Yesterday I went on a Brisbane City Council organised bus tour of the nearly completed Clem7 Tunnel.

The Clem7 Tunnel is a new road tunnel in Brisbane that runs North-South under the Brisbane River, with the aim of the tunnel being to reduce congestion on surface roads. It’s the first link in what Brisbane City Council and specifically Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is billing as the TransApex ring road system, which will apparently (note sarcasm) solve all of Brisbane’s congestion problems. The second is the controversial Hale Street Bridge (another toll road) which is currently under construction.

Southern Entrance to Clem7 Tunnel

Southern Entrance to Clem7 Tunnel

In The Tunnel

The tunnel is being built as a joint venture between Leighton, Baulderstone Hornibrook and Bilfinger Berger. Once open the tunnel will be operated by Rivercity Motorway Group who will charge a toll on the tunnel. The toll will initially be set at $4.20 in each direction, which is potentially promising that commercially the project will be a financial disaster if motorists refuse to use it.

The tunnel is named after the late Clem Jones, a former Lord Mayor of Brisbane that was responsible for sewering Brisbane, and transforming Brisbane from a big country town into an actual city. The 7 comes from the fact the tunnel is 6.8 kilometres long.

In The Tunnel

Exiting The Tunnel At Bowen Hills

The Transition Structure at the Northern Portal

The tour yesterday left from the King George Square Busway Station, and travelled south to the most southern entrance of the tunnel which is at Woollongabba on Ipswich Road. The bus then travelled north through the tunnel at 10km/h as the tunnel is under construction, under the Brisbane River, and out the other side at Bowen Hills where the tunnel will connect with the Inner City Bypass and the future Airport Link Project. The actual bus portion of the tour was quite enjoyable, however our tour guide was dreadful. For some reason someone thought it would be a good idea to dress some party boy up in a construction uniform and a hard hat and give him a page of notes. It was bad! This guy knew absolutely nothing about the tunnel, or tunnels in general, or roads in general, or infrastructure, infact I would have been surprised if he even knew what the word infrastructure meant. It really spoiled an otherwise enjoyable tour.

The tunnel is due to open part way through 2010, and although I am glad that money is being spent on infrastructure, I think this is the wrong way to spend it. Public transport is what money should spent on, getting people out of their cars and onto public transport or push bikes is the way to go.

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As most people who live in South East Queensland will already be aware, Translink, the authority responsible for public transport in South East Queensland has decided to increase fares by an outrageous amount from the start of 2010. You can read about it here, or here, or here.

I for one think the proposed increases are bullshit (apologies for the coarse language), and as a result I have written an email to Anna Bligh, the Premier of Queensland. A copy of the email is below. I encourage anyone who also agrees that the proposed increase in fares is bullshit to write to Anna, just log onto this website, or send an email to this address thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au and let Anna know how you feel!


Dear Anna,

I am writing to express my extreme dissatisfaction at yesterday’s announcement of the proposed extreme increases to public transport fares. The proposed increase is unjust, and unwarranted.

The proposal to increase public transport fares by up to forty percent will penalise people who already do the right thing. People who use public transport are helping to reduce congestion on our already heavily trafficked roads. Public transport users are also minimising their impact on the environment. The proposed increase will also make public transport unaffordable to a lot of people.

Public Transport users who choose not to use a Go Card will further penalised, with the proposed fee increase. The Go Card system as it presently exists is flawed, and urgently needs to be revised! Many people, such as myself do not frequently use a Go Card because it does not suit my needs. I buy a monthly ticket as it enables me to travel between my home station and my work place for a set price every month. In addition if I choose to use public transport on the weekend, then I can for no additional cost. Not only is this good for my hip pocket, but it is good for the environment. Every extra trip I take on public transport is one less trip I take in my car.

Does the government that you lead realise that the extreme proposed increase to public transport fares is going to discourage people if/when they consider using public transport. The community needs every encouragement possible and increasing fares will not help. When the community doesn’t use public transport it means that they are travelling by private motor car and therefore adding to traffic congestion. Also as less people choose to use public transport it will become more expensive to run. As it becomes more expensive to run, either routes will have to be reduced, or fares will have to keep increasing, which in turn means less and less people end up using public transport, either because they cannot afford to, or because there is no route that takes them where they need to go. As a result the community as a whole suffers and is left with a useless expensive public transport network. That would not be a good outcome! Does your government really want to be remembered as the government that destroyed public transport?

As the Premier of Queensland you need to stop this massive increase in public transport fares. On top of stopping the proposed increase, your government also needs to seriously consider reducing public transport fares. Reducing fares would encourage more people to use the system, making the system cheaper per person to run. If more people were to use the public transport system it would mean that the number of available routes and the frequency of routes could increase. This would make public transport a viable option for an even greater proportion of the community, with the benefit being that the public transport system is better for everyone, and congestion on roads is reduced. The Go Card system also requires an urgent overhaul. The addition of unlimited travel between two nominated zones over a weekly or monthly time frame would be a good start.

In what appears to be a bit of a recurring trend I attended another Busway opening today. This time it was the Boggo Road Busway which links the Princess Alexandra Hospital to the Eleanor Schonell Bridge and the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland.

The Boggo Road Busway was a $226 million dollar project constructed by Thiess. The busway is comprised of two stations, two tunnels, and travels under the former Boggo Road Gaol, which was infamous for housing some of Australia’s most dangerous criminals.

There is a station at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and another adjacent to Park Road Railway Station, which for some reason is called Boggo Road Station, just to make it a little bit confusing for people.

One of the tunnels is a driven tunnel, which is 630 metres long. The second tunnel is of a shorter length and is a cut and cover tunnel.

Between the Boggo Road Station and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Station, one of the retaining walls has some artwork installed on the wall (see the pictures below). The artists for the installation were Amanda Harris and Alanah Walker. Apparently the artwork is:

“is reflective of the origins of the word boggo, which is possibly derived from the word bloggo, thought to be from the local indigenous language and meaning two leaning trees”.

I liked the art, although I though it looked like butterflies.

I took some pictures. Check them out below.

PA Hospital Station

PA Hospital Station

Transition Structure to Cut and Cover Tunnel

Transition Structure to Cut and Cover Tunnel

Artwork

Artwork

Artwork

Artwork

Boggo Road Station

Boggo Road Station

Interior of Driven Tunnel

Interior of Driven Tunnel

Interior of Driven Tunnel

Interior of Driven Tunnel