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Tunnel Boring Machines Cross Brisbane River – Brisbane

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The State Government has announced that one of the two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) used to excavate the Cross River Rail’s twin tunnels has now crossed under the Brisbane River.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland outlines the successful under river crossing by TBM Else is a major milestone for this transformational project.

“Else was now tunnelling its way towards the new Albert Street station, while TBM Merle was making her own crossing to ensure the twin tunnels break through to Roma Street, then onto the Normanby portal by the end of the year.

“Not only is this project streamlining our public transport network, it is also a vital part of our economic recovery”.

“Everything about Cross River Rail is big”.

‘When so many work sites around Australia shut down last year because of the coronavirus threat the tunnel project fired up”.

“It is putting more than $4 million a day into the economy and more than 2400 people have worked on the project since it started.”

“When trains start running to parts of the inner city in 2025, more than 7700 workers, including 450 trainees and apprentices can boast they had a hand in building the project which will re-define peoples journeys to parts of the inner city Ms Palaszczuk said.

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

Current Location

Mark Bailey, minister for Transport outlined that the Cross River Rail will change the way we travel to, from and through Brisbane in the future, and it is creating 7, 700 jobs for Queensland.

“While progress above ground around the surface of the 2-hectare old Brisbane Transit Centre site at Roma Street is impressive the tunnelling work out of sight and underground is breathtaking”.

“The big boring machines are tunnelling through up to 30 metres of hard rock a day with a crew of up to 15 people working on them at any one time.

“The TBMs are lining the tunnel walls as they go with 25,000 big precast concrete segments, weighing 4.2 tonnes each”.

“The big project is a key component of the Palaszczuk Government’s $56 billion dollar infrastructure guarantee over the next four years to drive Queensland’s economic recovery from Covid-19,” Mr Bailey said.

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)



Mr Bailey said the Cross River Rail project was moving into an exciting new stage.

“The first TBM has been assembled and is going through its final checks this week, and the same process will be completed with the second machine next month”.

“Crews remain on track to launch the TBMs from the Woolloongabba station site early next year”.

“The TBMs will tunnel under the Brisbane River to Albert Street station in mid-2021, before continuing on to the new Roma Street station and emerging at the project’s northern portal at Normanby”.

“At the same time as they’re making their way through hard rock, the TBMs will install massive 4.2 tonne precast concrete segments to line the tunnels”.

“The sheer scale of work happening on this transformational project both on and below the surface means great benefits for the state now and into the future, Mr Bailey said.



Grace Grace Inspection

Grace Grace, Member for McConnel outlined that the project is delivering a huge economic boost to Queensland.

“Cross River Rail is injecting about $4.1 million into the economy every day, with more than 90 per cent of this flowing directly into Queensland businesses, at a time when they need it the most.”

Ms Grace said the exciting milestone of crossing under the river was also one of the most technically challenging parts for crews.

“As you could imagine, burrowing under the Brisbane River with two 1350-tonne mega machines has required extensive planning”.

“Crews undertake probe drilling in front of the TBMs to determine the type of geology they will pass through, while special systems on the machines and the design of the tunnels themselves ensure this new river crossing will be watertight,” she said.

Tunnel Boring Machine fast facts:
– Two TBMs are being refitted and refurbished at Herrenknecht’s facility
– Each TBM weighs 1350 tonnes and is 165 metres long
– A crew of up to 15 people will work in a TBM at any one time
– The cutter head weighs 106 tonnes and measures 7.2 metres in diameter
– 39 cutting discs that exert up to 32 tonnes of pressure each
– TBMs will work at a rate of 20 to 30 metres per day
– the tunnels will be 58m below the surface at Kangaroo Point
– Each TBM is fully equipped with crew facilities, offices and toilets
– The TBMs must be disassembled to be transported
– The TBMs will generate 290,000 cubic metres of spoil 

More than 100 local companies have prepared the TBMs, including QIC Protective Coatings (Birkdale), LCR Group (Wacol), AC Hargreaves Pty Ltd (Seventeen Mile Rocks), C&L Tool Centre (Hendra), ShapeCUT (Carole Park), and Citi-steel (Darra)

We encourage you to like the Your Neighbourhood Facebook page, to be updated on other projects or developments.

Source: Information, Drawings and Images
All article information is sourced and available for review from referenced locations.
– Media Release: Cross River Rail tunnel has now pushed under the Brisbane River
– Images and Video: Cross River Rail

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