Queensland has revealed concept designs for what would be the world’s first double-deck bus and rail tunnel to replace the planned Cross River Rail project.
At 15 metres wide, the $5 billion Underground Bus and Train (UBAT) tunnel would be capable of accommodating a double-track railway and two-lanes of road traffic.
The 5.4 kilometre tunnel would run north to south beneath the Brisbane River from Victoria Park to Dutton Park, featuring new underground stations at Woolloongabba, George Street and Roma Street.
After announcing its budget in June, Queensland Government was criticised by Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport for appearing to omit the Cross River Rail project from its investment plans.
Government ministers have said that by combining the now-defunct $5.2 billion Cross River Rail and the $2.8 billion Suburbs 2 City project into one ambitious combined scheme it will save around $3 billion.
In a statement outlining the UBAT programme, Premier Campbell Newman said: “There’s been too much conversation in the past, but we are a government that promised to deliver better planning, infrastructure and revitalised frontline services and that is what we are doing.”
He added: “The project we are announcing today delivers the public transport services needed for the next 50 years.”
With the Merivale Bridge currently the only way of traversing the Brisbane River by rail, the UBAT tunnel would more than double the number of trains crossing the river during the morning peak.
Queensland Government has said that work could begin as early as 2015, with construction planned for completion 2020.