The first of Brisbane’s Cross River Rail’s two 7.2m diameter Herrenknecht hard rock TBMs has seen the daylight for the first time in ten months having broken through on completion of its journey at the project’s Northern Portal.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the progress made on the transformational $5.4bn Cross River Rail project.
“This project was integral in delivering us the 2032 Olympic Games,” the Premier said.
“At the centre of this project is 5.9km of twin tunnels under the Brisbane CBD. To have one of two tunnels already complete is a great coup. Cross River Rail will take thousands of cars off the road throughout southeast Queensland and will make it quicker and easier to commute in the River City.”
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the significance of the 1350-tonne TBM Else’s breakthrough at the project’s northern portal today could not be understated.
“To have one of the TBMs finish its journey today is a massive milestone,” Mr Miles said.
“TBM Else has tunnelled 3.8km from Woolloongabba, under the Brisbane River to Albert Street and then onto Roma Street to emerge here at Cross River Rail’s Northern Portal.
“By unlocking the congested inner city rail network, Cross River Rail will transform how we travel throughout South Eastern Queensland.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the milestone marked the end of the tunnelling for TBM Else – named after trailblazing engineer Professor Else Shepherd AM.
“The TBMs have been an iconic part of this project, and today we acknowledge and congratulate the crews who made TBM Else’s journey below the Brisbane River and CBD a success,” Mr Bailey said.
“TBM Else will be disassembled and then lifted out of the northern portal piece-by-piece by the same 280-tonne gantry crane that lowered her into the Woolloongabba station box.
“Cross River Rail’s second mega machine – TBM Merle – will also breakthrough in coming weeks, marking an end to the project’s ‘year of tunnelling’.”
Education Minister and Member for McConnel Grace Grace said the project’s northern portal at Normanby was an impressive work site in its own right, with 40 workers making sure it was ready for the arrival of the project’s two mega machines.
“Crews have been working 24/7 to finish excavating the 12m deep TBM extraction box, while also building the portal structure itself,” Ms Grace said.
“All up, 240 pre-cast roof components, each 18m wide and weighing almost 26 tonnes will be installed on site, which is where trains will enter and exit the twin tunnels when Cross River Rail is operational.”
The Tunnel, Stations and Development public-private partnership ‘PULSE’ is delivering the underground section of the project.
The PULSE consortium is led by CIMIC Group companies, Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, and UGL with international partners DIF, BAM and Ghella.