Brisbane Digs Deep for Cross River Rail

The first road header has started tunnelling at Roma Street, the site of one of Brisbane’s new train stations heralding the start of Queensland’s largest job-creating infrastructure project, the Cross River Rail.

Roma Street is where a large station cavern is also being excavated as part of Brisbane’s new underground line. It will have a cavern that’s 280 metres long and 27 metres below ground.

Weighing 115 tonnes, the 22-metre long roadheader arrived in Roma St in pieces and were assembled at the bottom of the 18-metre-deep shaft. If all goes to plan, it will excavate approximately 50 tonnes of rock and soil per hour.

A second roadheader will begin work at Roma Street, tentatively before the end of the third quarter.

“Above ground demolition has also been underway for several months at the site of the new station – but today is a huge milestone for this project as we start tunnelling for the first time,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“This is just the beginning of the underground works, with 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels and four underground stations to be excavated in total,” she said.

The Roma street railway station will have two train platforms.


The tunnelling site is covered by an enormous “acoustic shed.” The shy will contain dust and construction debris, as well as minimise noise.

Meanwhile, the demolition of the nearby Hotel Jen building will continue to progress at the present pace of one floor per week. Once this is done, the massively unpopular Brisbane Transit Centre will be next up for demolition.

Creating Jobs and Solving Congestion

She went on to explain that boosting employment and busting congestion are the twin focus of the project. The Cross River Rail is expected to create more than 7,000 local jobs, a massive boost to the local economy, particularly in light of the employment challenges experienced by various sectors during the coronavirus months.

“We’re not only building a new train station and digging tunnels. Cross River Rail will also generate billions of dollars of new private sector investment in the city as we redesign the precinct around the new station,” Ms Jones added.

“That means more jobs and more economic stability at a vital time for Queensland,” she said.

Construction, according to Treasurer and Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Cameron Dick, is one of a number of traditional industries that had helped insulate Queensland from the economic fallout brought about by COVID-19.

“So many Queensland families and businesses have been hit hard by something they could not have imagined just a few months ago,” the Treasurer said.

“But some of Queensland’s traditional strengths like mining, agriculture and construction have weathered the storm better than other areas. As our economy reopens, we will be supporting jobs in these sectors, as well as jobs in new and emerging industries,” he added.

State Development Minister Kate Jones agrees. “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our economy. But we won’t let it derail Queensland’s largest infrastructure project,” she said.

Bus Station Closure

In other news, the Roma Street busway station will be closed for 15 weeks, beginning on the 18th of May.

Photo Credit: Translink

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