As the state is plunged into financial uncertainty and many projects are put on hold, some are bucking the trend and helping to keep the state economy’s head above water.
The state government says Cross River Rail, its signature infrastructure project, is pumping a critical $2.8 million into Queensland’s economy every day, as it weathers the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
Cross River Rail Minister Kate Jones said with fewer people on public transport during the pandemic, demolition could be done faster and it was easier to plan track works.
“While so many industries have had to scale back or shut down, throughout the nation, construction projects of large scale are forging ahead,” she said.
“Projects like Cross River Rail enable us not only to continue to support thousands of workers but also to fast-track recovery in the next stage of this crisis.”
As south-east Queensland’s population balloons, Brisbane’s transport network is coming under increasing pressure. Driven by population and employment growth in the region, demand for passenger rail services is forecast to almost triple by 2036.
What is Cross River Rail?
Cross River Rail is the largest infrastructure project in Queensland’s history, will cost about $5.4 billion to build and will be finished in 2024.
It will be a 10.2-kilometre stretch of rail track stretching from Dutton Park, near the Princess Alexandra Hospital, to Bowen Hills on the edge of the CBD.
It will include six kilometres of twin tunnels running under the Brisbane River and CBD.
The government says it will deliver an extra 18,000 seats on Brisbane trains, take 14,000 drivers off the roads, cut travel time on south-east Queensland train lines and create more than 7700 jobs.
Construction on the project will more than double in size during 2020 and worksites are already up and running at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street.
The first part of tunnelling on the project is expected to start in August, from Woolloongabba towards Boggo Road.
What infrastructure are we gaining and losing?
Cross River Rail will deliver four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street.
It will also upgrade eight above-ground stations at Salisbury, Rocklea, Moorooka, Yeerongpilly, Yeronga, Fairfield, Dutton Park and Exhibition.
The new Roma Street station (artist’s impression) will be built where the existing transit centre stands.
Described by Transport Minister Mark Bailey as “one of the ugliest buildings in Brisbane”, the run-down Brisbane Transit Centre on Roma Street will be demolished in coming weeks, to make way for a new interchange.
Commuters will catch buses and trains from a new underground station at Roma Street.
Is Brisbane getting a new stadium?
In December, the decision was made to go ahead with the 17,000-seat Brisbane Live entertainment precinct above Roma Street railyards.
Author – Lydia Lynch, Brisbane Times.
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