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Airport Link awaiting safety green light

Brisbane's Airport Link tunnel.

Brisbane's Airport Link tunnel.


Brisbane’s Airport Link tunnel will not open tonight, tunnel operators Brisconnections confirmed this afternoon.

And it seems unlikely to open tomorrow night, either.

bridge Click for more photos

Touring Brisbane's Airport Link tunnel

Thousands of tunnel walkers on Sunday took to the city's new $4.8 billion Airport Link. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Brisconnections chief executive Ray Wilson this afternoon said final commissioning of Airport Link’s traffic control systems, which he described as "the most advanced and complex ever installed in an Australian tunnel", continued.

“We’re continuing to work with the project’s independent verifier to ensure that he is satisfied that all systems are operating satisfactorily,” he said.

“Once we have certification we’ll be in a position to announce an opening date for this vital piece of infrastructure.’’

Late last week, Dr Wilson said he hoped the tunnel might be opened late on Sunday.


Brisbane’s second toll tunnel, the Airport Link tunnel, is still waiting for final checks on its complex lighting, directional signs and security systems before being given approval by authorities to open.

Tunnel operator, Brisconnections, said it was hopeful the 6.7 kilometre twin tunnels between Bowen Hills and Toombul would be opened late last night.

But the new tollway remained closed this morning, awaiting further checks.

CEO Ray Wilson told reporters last week he was reasonably confident that the $4.8 billion network of tunnels would be open late on Sunday night.

“I'm still hopeful that we'll make it this weekend," Dr Wilson said.

However, Mr Wilson said Brisconnections was still waiting for final details to be given the okay between police, Brisbane City Council, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, fire and emergency services offices.

Last night, a Brisconnections spokeswoman said the organisation was still waiting for final sign-off.

“We need to be advised of a certificate by the independent verifier,” she said.

A Brisbane City Council spokesman said yesterday that Brisbane City Council also understood the tunnel operator still needed final sign-off before opening.

Brisconnections had originally not planned to open until late this week – the final days in July – after wet weather had pushed back the opening day until August 20.

Media crews were shown through the tunnel control room last week.

Mr Wilson, meantime, remains confident that the Airport Link series of tunnels will attract around 135,000 vehicles per day after the first month of free tolls because the tunnels work between several “trip generators”, including the Brisbane Airport, the Trade Coast region, Brisbane’s Legacy Way tunnel traffic, Clem 7 traffic, the central city.

However, a Brisbane traffic modelling firm on Saturday questioned the project’s traffic forecasting.

Toowong-based Veitch Lister Consulting – which has prepared traffic forecasts for Sydney and Melbourne toll projects - said its modelling predicted Airport Link would draw around 120,000 vehicles per day by October 2012.

However, it estimated that the initial rush by drivers keen to test-drive the new toll tunnel would fade in just over a year to 60,000 as the toll increased.


  • Projected numbers of vehicles are mumbo-jumbo. Who will they sue this time?

    60secs x 60 minutes x 24 hours = 86,400 seconds

    therefore 165000/86400 = approx 2 cars per sec, every second for every 24 hours


    Congestion Capital
    Date and time
    July 23, 2012, 3:52AM
    • Anyone would think it was an 8 lane monster in LA.

      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 7:06AM
    • When you look at it like that Ozbob it does seem pie in the sky

      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 8:46AM
    • Hi Ozbob. its only 135K per day which is only 1.56 cars per second.

      Settle down dude.......

      Opinion of my Own
      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 9:24AM
    • @Opinion of my Own, that's more than the Lincoln Tunnel in New York carries.

      in the real world
      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 10:49AM
    • I'm calling BS on the stats.

      Let's see - one of Sydney's busiest roads, the M5 Motorway, has 118,000 cars on it per day. And that is people going from Western Sydney to the airport and into Sydney itself.

      As far as I remember the Gateway highway and Lutwyche Rd combined had nowhere near the traffic that the M5 did when I was living in Brisbane.

      Certainly there was nowhere near as many cars turning off towards the airport. When I picked my parents up from the airport on a weekend there was no traffic at all.

      On a weekend the M5 is packed solid with cars.

      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 11:13AM
    • Hewy oomo check out this ..

      165,000? Tell 'em they're dreaming


      But whether it is 2 or 1.56 cars per second, they are dreaming ....

      Congestion Capital
      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 1:19PM
    • Why would we fine a private company? The Investors took the risk, and if the traffic numbers don't stack up, they will lose out on their return. In the long term, the numbers will grow and the public will inherit a major piece of infrastructure for an absolute minimum amount of what it cost to construct.

      Seriously, Brisbane residents need to understand what a PPP is, how it works; and stop complaining...

      The Real World
      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 10:40AM
    • @"BJM"

      By your logic the government is going to buy a private business .... when the State is (ha ha) broke .... and go into the tolling business.

      Is that what you are saying ?

      Seriously , do you have any idea how much rent per year the State LNP government has saddled the Queensland public with , for 25 years, with the PPP the LNP Newman government signed the other day for a sunny coast hospital.

      Try a few numbers :

      $100 million a year = $2.5 billion = not much of a return on a $2 billion outlay.

      $200 million a year = $5 billion = getting closer to what a developer would expect as a return.

      Just on those figures alone do you still think that after 25 years the buildings will be a worthwhile investment ?

      I wonder if, to facilitate the development, the LNP government will set up a quango like City North Infrastructure (CNI) that was set up for Airportlink.

      J. Fraser
      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 10:55AM
    • @BJM The Real World
      I had to allow myself a chuckle at your assertion "Seriously, Brisbane residents need to understand what a PPP is, how it works; and stop complaining..."

      Successive governments have been inflicting these upon us, your Mexican neighbours, for the better part of a generation now. And we're still deeply, truly mystified as to how they're supposed to work!

      Seriously though your other assertion that "The Investors took the risk, and if the traffic numbers don't stack up, they will lose out on their return." is fundamentally flawed and wholly inaccurate. In fact what's happened down here is that when the projected numbers don't come to fruition, us poor taxpayers foot the bill by way of compensation to those hot-shot entrepreneurs allegedly taking the risk! Yet another case I'm afraid of privatised profits, socialised losses. Still relaxed and comfortable?

      Date and time
      July 23, 2012, 4:02PM

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