Roadheaders get to work between Woolloongabba and Boggo Road

Two roadheaders are now carving out the tunnel between Woolloongabba and Boggo Road stations in Brisbane, part of the Cross River Rail project.

The roadheaders will each travel 870 metres from Woolloongabba to Boggo Road, excavating 60 tonnes of rock per hour. Every day, the 115-tonne machines will progress between two to five metres, with tunnelling expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Previously, the roadheaders were used to create the station caverns at Woolloongabba, and while tunnelling the machines will excavate three cross passages between the twin tunnels, as well as one temporary cross passage, said a Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA) spokesperson.

“The roadheaders being used to excavate the project’s twin tunnels south to Boggo Road have been repurposed for extended use, having already been used to excavate the Woolloongabba station cavern.”

Unlike tunnelling on the rest of the project from Woolloongabba to Normanby, which is being carried out by two tunnel boring machines, the roadheaders are being used between Woolloongabba and Boggo Road due to the shallowness of this section of tunnel.

“Using roadheaders to tunnel south from Woolloongabba to Boggo Road is a more cost efficient and more suitable methodology given the tunnel section’s shorter length and shallower depth,” said the spokesperson.

“It isn’t feasible to use additional TBMs for this section, especially considering how long they take to assemble, test and disassemble.”

In a press conference to mark the beginning of construction on the future Exhibition Station, CRRDA Graeme Newton said after a year of construction, the project was meeting its targets.

“We’re working both above ground and below ground. The project is progressing very well and we’re on time and on budget.”

At the front of the roadheaders, the pineapple that brakes through rock will go through 30 picks during each eight-hour shift.


Dual roadheaders excavating Cross River Rail tunnels

Two roadheaders are excavating tunnels underneath Brisbane to carve out the route of the future Cross River Rail.

The addition of the second roadheader enables more rock to be excavated each day, with 55 metres of tunnel already excavated at a rate of 1.5 metres each a day.

The over 100 tonnes roadheaders have set out in different directions from the Woolloongabba site. Beginning from the station cavern, one is heading north underneath Vulture Street, and the other is tunnelling south towards the South East Busway.

Blasting is also being conducted at the site to speed up excavation works.

To allow for the excavated rock, including volcanic Brisbane Tuff and conglomerates forming the Neranleigh Fernvale rock that sits under the Brisbane CBD, to be removed from site, a spoil shed built by a local contractor has been constructed at Woolloongabba. By the time excavation is complete, over 132,000 cubic metres of rock and soil will have been excavators. So far, 70,000 cubic metres has been removed.

When complete, the station box shaft will be 32 metres deep, with the future 220 metre-long platform sitting 27-metres below the surface.

Later in 2020, tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will arrive at Woolloongabba. The TBMs are currently being refitted in Brisbane after having completed work on the Sydney Metro project. The TBMs will excavate the twin underground tunnels to the north from January next year. This will speed up tunnelling progress as each can carve out 20-30 metres of tunnel a day.

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.