TBMs head north for CRR duties

Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that were in use on the Sydney Metro project have been shipped north to begin digging twin tunnels under the Brisbane river for the Cross River Rail project.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the machines have arrived and are being prepared to start major tunnelling for the underground rail project.

“They are the same machines that dug the Sydney Metro. Now they’ll get a full refit and refurbishment at Herrenknecht’s north-side facility, to prepare them to dig Brisbane’s first underground.”

The two TBMs will excavate the twin tunnels that will connect the rail lines north and south of the Brisbane CBD via a new river crossing. The machines will be launched from Woolloongabba Station on Brisbane’s south-side and emerge at the project’s northern portal at Normanby.

During tunnelling, the TBMs will carve through the Albert Street and Roma Street stations sites. The TBMs will travel 30 metres a day and line the tunnels with concrete segments as they create the passages. An expected 290,000 cubic metres of soil will be generated over the course of tunnelling.

Each of the TBMs weighs 1,350 tonnes and is 165 metres long. At its peak, refurbishment work will be done 247 at Herrenknecht’s site in Pinkemba.

Palaszczuk said that preparing the TBMs to work on the Cross River Rail project will create local jobs.

“More than a dozen people have started working on the refit of the Cross River Rail TBMs, and that will increase to up to 35 people during peak activity – local jobs at a local factory.”

State Development Minister Kate Jones said these jobs would have a long-term benefit to Queensland.

“Cross River Rail will transform the way we travel and it will also leave behind a legacy of skilled workers trained by world-leaders in specialist trades,” said Jones.

Production of concrete segments for Cross River Rail underway

Pre-cast concrete segments for the Cross River Rail tunnels are now being made at a site in Wacol, south-west Brisbane.

The project will require a total of 25,000 segments to line the tunnels underneath the Brisbane River and CBD, from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills.

Wagners Precast was the successful tenderer for the manufacture of the concrete segments and will carry out the work from its site in Wacol.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this was a good example of the local businesses that would benefit from the Cross River Rail project.

“Hundreds of local businesses are benefitting from work related to the project. In this case here at Wacol we have a 100 per cent Queensland-owned company employing local workers to build the concrete walls that will line the 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels,” she said.

Six of the 27cm thick and 1.7 metre long segments will create one tunnel ring, of which over 4,000 are required for the Cross River Rail tunnels.

Once the segments are finished in Wacol, trucks will haul them six at a time to the work sites. At full production levels, the site will produce 140 segments a day, using 105,000 cubic metres of concrete over the course of the project.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said she was staggered by the magnitude of the project.

“If you lay the 25,000 segments they’ll produce for Cross River Rail end-to-end you’d reach from Wacol to the heart of Brisbane City with a few segments to spare.”

In addition to the economic benefits of Cross River Rail, said Palaszczuk, the project is also supporting training and apprentices. At Wacol, 570 training hours were delivered in May.

“Investing in major infrastructure projects like Cross River Rail means more jobs, more training opportunities and more support for the economy right when we need it most,” the Premier said.

“7,500 jobs for workers will be created throughout the life of the project along with 450 opportunities for trainees and apprentices.”

Jones said the project was having a real impact on Queensland’s economy each day.

“Cross River Rail is pumping over $4 million a day into the economy, and over $370m is already being spent with more than 400 businesses that make up the supply chain for the project.”

Queensland gov prioritising local contractors on Cross River Rail

Over 400 local businesses have benefited from Cross River Rail so far, with 90 per cent of contracts going to Queensland-based businesses.

Minister for State Development and Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones said that a major rail project such as Cross River Rail can fuel the Queensland economy.

“Major State Government-funded infrastructure projects are crucial to Queensland’s economic recovery.

“Right now, Cross River Rail is already supporting more than 2,000 jobs. At the height of construction, that number will be more like 3,000,” said Jones.

Jones made the comments as she visited Clontarf business Avopiling, which had been awarded contracts close to $6 million.

“Avopiling supports 38 workers – people who have had job security during this pandemic thanks to Queensland’s largest infrastructure project,” said Jones.

Piling has been underway at the Woolloongabba and Albert Street sites to support new underground stations. 300 piles have been sunk in Woolloongabba, and Albert Street is soon to pass 100 piles.

“Avopiling has been operating out of their Clontarf facility for more than 15 years. And they’ve been working on Cross River Rail since November last year,” said Jones.

“They had two piling rigs and 11 workers putting in over 300 piles at Woolloongabba and now have one rig with eight workers at the Albert Street station.”

Graduate engineer Thenuja Srikanthan is working for Avopiling on the contract, which has provided hands-on experience while she completes her geotechnical engineering degree.

“I’ve had the opportunity get practical on the job experience and learn a lot while working at Cross River Rail’s Woolloongabba site,” she said.

Jones said that the Queensland government hopes that Cross River Rail continues to benefit local subcontractors and that the project prioritises Queensland companies.

“We’re seeing local subbies, hiring local workers and investing in new machinery,” Ms Jones said.

“This is putting Queensland companies in a better position to win even more contracts in the future.”


Roadheader gets to work on Cross River Rail

Tunnelling has officially begun on Cross River Rail, with the first roadheader assembled and digging out underneath Roma Street.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the occasion marked a major step for the Brisbane rail project.

“Above ground demolition has also been underway for several months at the site of the new station – but today is a huge milestone for this project as we start tunnelling for the first time,” she said.

“This is just the beginning of the underground works, with 5.9 kilometres of twin tunnels and four underground stations to be excavated in total.”

The roadheader was assembled at the site, 18 metres below ground, and is beginning to excavate the 280m long station cavern.

Now underway, the roadheader can excavate up to 50 tonnes of rock and soil an hour, with disruption protected by the acoustic shed at ground level, which stands five storeys high and is 60m long.

Local Queensland company QMW was involved in the manufacture of the roadheader, supplying the cabs. The locally made cabs and remaining five pieces were lowered into the shaft with a gantry crane and then put together underground.

The 22 metre long and 115 tonne roadheader is the first of two machines that will be working at Roma Street.

As work underground progresses, more and more people are working at the various Cross River Rail sites. Already 1,800 people are employed as part of the project, with the total expected to reach 3,000 when the project is at its construction peak in two years.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said that the project is critical to Queensland’s economy.

“Multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects like Cross River Rail are vital to Queensland’s economic recovery following COVID-19,” she said.

“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our economy. But we won’t let it derail Queensland’s largest infrastructure project.”

Once complete, Cross River Rail will include 5.9km of tunnels and four underground stations. Roma Street station will be 27 metres below ground and replaces the former Hotel Jen building and Brisbane Transit Centre.

Currently, one floor a week of the Hotel Jen is being demolished.

New board members announced for Cross River Rail Delivery Authority

The Queensland government has appointed five new members to the governing board of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority.

The board is now comprised of an array of senior Queensland public servants, and is chaired by Damien Walker, director-general, Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development.

In addition to the director general of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Under Treasurer, who are required to be on the board in the relevant legislation, the five members of the board are from the State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Housing and Public Works, Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, and Transport and Main Roads departments.

The appointment of new board members follows the removal of the previous Cross River Rail Board. Removed board members were Paul Lucas, former Queensland Attorney General, former NSW chief scientist & engineer Mary O’Kane, CEO of State Gas Ltd, Lucy Snelling, former director general of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet John Lee, Brisbane City Council nominee John McEvoy, and Airservices Australia board member Tim Rothwell.

The previous board’s terms were to expire in April 2020, however in February Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones informed them that their terms will not be renewed.

At the time, Jones said that the move to replace the board was about improving compliance.

“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance,” said Jones.

“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.”

CPB Contractors was put into the spotlight by construction union CFMEU, which has counted 50 breaches of Workplace Health & Safety laws since early demolition work begun at Cross River Rail sites six months ago.

“To have more than 50 enforcement notices issued in this space of time on one project is just extraordinary – if this was a motorist behind the wheel of a car you’d strip the driver of their licence and impound the vehicle in the interests of public safety,” said CFMEU assistant secretary Jade Ingham.

CPB Contractors was contacted however declined to comment.

Planning instrument supports station development

Queensland Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick has declared an expanded priority development area (PDA) surrounding the future Woolloongabba station.

The declaration supports the development of a station-to-stadium precinct, said Dick.

“The PDA precinct will be transformed into a vibrant mixed-use place, linking commercial, residential and retail development with world-class public transport,” he said.

“The new PDA includes all land within the former Woolloongabba PDA as well as land east of Main Street, including the Gabba.

“The inclusion of the Gabba enables the delivery of a dedicated pedestrian connection from the new Cross River Rail station to the stadium, providing easy access on game days and for events,” said Dick.

The Woolloongabba station, part of the Cross River Rail project, is currently under construction, and site establishment works have begun this April.

The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority, the state government, and Brisbane City Council will prepare a development scheme for the site. Until the development scheme is drafted, an interim land use plan is in effect.

Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones said that the PDA would ensure the successful delivery of the Cross River Rail project.

“This about getting on with the job of building Queensland’s largest infrastructure project,” she said.

“Cross River Rail will create more than 7000 local jobs for workers. This is guaranteed employment and gives peace of mind to Queenslanders working on the project,” said Jones.

Other stations on the Cross River Rail project have also had PDAs declared. Roma Street and Albert Street have PDAs surrounding the sites, to encourage and stimulate development in the station precincts.

Compliance strengthened in Cross River Rail project

A new governance structure for the Cross River Rail project will ensure that contractors deliver on time and to budget, announced Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones.

Lead contractor, CPB Group, has been caught up in controversy in delivering the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria, and the Queensland government is attempting to avoid similar contractual disputes.

“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance,” said Jones.

In a statement, Jones and the Queensland government outlined that the Delivery Authority will report to the Minister directly, a compliance unit will oversee contractor commitments, and the board will be restructured in April, when their current term expires.

“While the construction project is currently on track and on budget, it is early days,” said Jones.

“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.”

Jones also announced that local businesses will be able to get involved in the Cross River Rail project, with the Queensland government announcing a new website will go live today, February 27.

200 local companies are already providing goods and services to the rail project, however the new website hopes to provide further opportunities at various stages across the project.

The next wave of subcontractor opportunities will be in tunnelling and station works, said Cross River Rail minister, Kate Jones.

“This will be the one stop shop for anyone who wants to work on Cross River Rail,” she said.

“If you’re a local subby with the right expertise, we want you to apply to work on the biggest project in Queensland’s history.”

Jones visited the worksite at Woolloongabba to inspect progress on the rail project. Already, 140 piles have been sunk to stabilise the station box, 5m out of a total 32m have been excavated, and 8 of 132 piles have been sunk to build the ramp for the tunnel boring machines to access the site.

“Construction will ramp up in 2020 and locals will see more workers on Cross River Rail sites throughout the city,” said Jones.

Contractors already involved in the project include local construction company Wagners, which won a $40 million contract to supply precast concrete segments.

Another company, Multhana Property Services, will provide cleaning and maintenance services at project worksites.

“Multhana is a great example of a proud Queensland company benefiting from Cross River Rail,” said Jones.

“They’re doing a great job and already have eight staff working on the project, with that number set to grow as more worksites are established.”

Work on the Cross River Rail project is expected to be completed in 2024.

Demolition for Roma Street station begins

The Hotel Jen building is now being demolished to make way for the Cross River Rail in Brisbane.

The building will be replaced by the Roma Street station, and is the first of three buildings to be demolished at the site, said Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones.

“Today marks a huge milestone for Cross River Rail. This project is crucial to avoiding a bottleneck in the future.”

Jones outlined the impact that this work would have on the Brisbane and southeast Queensland rail network.

“It allows us to run more trains more often across the whole of southeast Queensland. We expect that with Cross River Rail in place, an extra 47,000 people will choose rail instead of road by 2036.”

The Hotel Jen was opened in 1986 as part of the Brisbane Transit Centre, however the precinct is due for an overhaul with the new station, said Jones.

“Construction of the new Roma Street station will create jobs for Queenslanders, and breathe new life into the area which has become underutilised and run down.”

Roma Street will be one of four new underground stations, which comprise the core of the Cross River Rail project. At Roma Street, the new line will connect with the existing rail network in the Brisbane CBD.

Cross River Rail construction to ramp up in 2020

Construction towards the Cross River Rail project will commence at 11 new sites, adding to the seven currently active sites.

“Already we’ve got 1000 workers on Cross River Rail sites across the city. With new sites set to open, we’re looking at employing an extra 1500 workers this year,” Cross River Rail Minister Kate Jones said on Thursday.

Construction of Cross River Rail will create 7700 jobs in total throughout South East Queensland and opportunities will increase for trainees, apprentices, and local companies looking to sub-contract, according to the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority’s CEO Graeme Newton.

Newton said that 2020 will see work on the project ramping up, and passing critical milestones.

“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,” Newton said.

“But 2020 is where things really kick up a gear. We’ll complete demolition at Roma St and Albert St, start tunnelling 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.”

Crews are progressing with the installation of 280 concrete piles for the station box at Woolloongabba, and work is also underway towards piloting the European Train Control System on the Shorncliffe line, the authority says the system will make the network safer and more efficient.

Extensive work has begun in the rail corridor between Roma Street and Exhibition stations where the northern tunnel portal will be constructed. Meanwhile, work is already underway towards the project’s southern tunnel portal south of Boggo Road.