TBM Else, the first of two tunnel boring machines of Brisbane Cross River Rail has broken through a rock wall into the 280-metres long and 15 metres high underground cavern beneath Roma Street, marking the biggest milestone yet for the transformational project.
Having a tunnel stretch more than 2.5 km from the future Woolloongabba station all the way to Roma Street is a tangible reminder of just how transformational this project will be for Queenslanders travelling to, from and through Brisbane in the future.
TBM Else launched from the Woolloongabba site in early 2021 and tunnelled 2,580 metres beneath the Brisbane River and CBD before breaking through at Roma Street.
Meanwhile, further upgrades are slated at Roma Street station following a decision to keep the Inner Northern Busway (INB) at Roma Street on its current alignment. There was an initial proposal to put the busway underground, but further assessment and consultation with the property sector showed commuters are more likely to change between above ground bus and rail services rather than the rail services arriving underground, and that leaving the INB at grade will not compromise future development in the precinct.
As part of the Roma Street Station rebuild, the busway will be upgraded, including extending the length of bus Platform 1, and refurbishing the existing subway that connects all 10 of Roma Street’s above ground platforms.
The refurbishments will bring it in line with the look and feel of the new underground station and the main station plaza, which will be a win for commuters and a better value for money outcome.
TBM Merle is also expected to breakthrough at Roma Street in coming weeks, with both continuing through to the project’s northern portal at Normanby and emerging by the end of the year.
TBMs excavated about 3.8 km of Cross River Rail’s 5.9 km of twin tunnels Brisbane River and the CBD. The project covers the construction of a 10.2 km line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, which includes the twin tunnels. The new line will have four new underground stations, eight upgraded stations and three developed Gold Coast stations.
This milestone provides connection between the future Woolloongabba and Roma Street stations, that are now connected by a tunnel that runs beneath the Brisbane River and CBD. It is a key performance to ensure the transport for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games. The very same section of tunnel that this 1350-tonne mega machine has just finished excavating will be used in the future to take sports fans between athletics and swimming events during the Games.
For on-time implementation of Brisbane Cross River Rail project, there are currently underway 14 active worksites.