Ground was broken in 2020 on the state government’s Cross River Rail project and has continued apace throughout the COVID-19 crisis. At completion, Queensland’s largest infrastructure project will connect four new underground stations; Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street.
The ambitious project will see the addition of 10.2 kilometres of rail line crossing the river via twin tunnels. Cross River Rail will deliver more trains more often, open up mobility and growth opportunities in the CBD, and deliver a fatal blow to some languishing infrastructure, such as the neglected Transit Centre.
On May 14, 2020 tunnelling officially began with a giant roadheader roaring to life in the tunnel section of the project’s Roma Street site. A roadheader is a 22 metre long, 115 tonne, tunnel boring machine that can excavate up to 50 tonnes of rock and soil per hour. A second roadheader, made by Queensland family-owned company QMW, will begin work at Roma Street later this year.
Albert Street Station will become a key connection within the CBD and serve as a much more central location for commuters than Central Station. Across the river, an expansive lot neighbouring the Gabba grounds is set to feature a sizable underground station with hints of ground level and surrounding development plans of up to 30 storeys. This improved connection to the Gabba has also been touted to coincide with upgrades to the stadium and is due for completion in 2024. When complete, a trip from Albert Street to The Gabba will take around three minutes.
2020 is the year we’ll see a major uptick in works. Cross River Rail Delivery Authority CEO Graeme Newton announced construction would more than double this year adding up to 11 new worksites to the seven currently underway.
“2019 was a big year for the project. We appointed our major contractors, established multiple new worksites, revealed the location of three new Gold Coast stations and launched a Precincts Delivery Strategy that will be the catalyst for up to $20 billion of investment,” he said.
“But 2020 is where things really kick up a gear. We’ll complete demolition at Roma St and Albert St, start tunneling from Woolloongabba to Boggo Road, start work on station upgrades and the new Gold Coast stations and we will have workers live on the project at as many as 18 sites across the city.”
Demolition across the Roma Street site is picking up pace with the old Hotel Jen building disappearing at a rate of one floor a week. Early demolition works have already started on one of Brisbane’s least loved buildings, the Brisbane Transit Centre.
Estimated completion: Cross River Rail will be operational in 2024.