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First tunnel breakthrough for Brisbane Airport Link

Brisbane Airport Link - which will be Australia’s longest road tunnel - saw its first tunnel breakthrough last week.

The breakthrough occurred in the northbound Airport Link tunnel as a 135t road-header travelling south from Windsor cut through the tunnel face at Bowen Hills, 22m below the surface of Lutwyche Road.

Project director Gordon Ralph said: “I am proud of the efforts of our tunnelling teams who are working around the clock at four key tunnelling sites across Brisbane’s north in Bowen Hills, Windsor, Kedron and Wooloowin to construct the twin 5.1km Airport Link tunnels.”

Construction of Airport Link is being undertaken together with the Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) requiring 15km of tunnelling in total, encompassing road and busway tunnels and connecting ramps.

A total of 17 roadheader machines are now carving out the Airport Link and Northern Busway tunnels – the largest number of roadheaders to be used on an Australian project.

Construction of the Airport Link tunnels is being undertaken using a combination of tunnel boring machines, roadheader machines and cut and cover tunnelling, with tunnelling commencing in May 2009.

Design and construction of Airport Link is being undertaken by Thiess John Holland. BrisConnections is responsible for delivering the project alongside Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) and Airport Roundabout Upgrade, a $4.8bn (£2.9M) infrastructure investment by the Queensland state government.

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