Brisbane Metro Mixing it up to Move Forward

Construction plans changed, costs rise, and governments get along to speed up delivery of the electric bus service

Cultural Centre. Pic: Brisbane City Council

Brisbane Metro: Construction on Brisbane’s forthcoming 21km inner-city turn up and go electric bus service is ramping up with the work on the Cultural Centre Station deferred and the announcement of the preferred tenderer.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has announced a new staging plan which will see work on the Cultural Centre Station deferred to make way for other priority works.

“We’ve been working with the State Government for almost a year, trying to finalise the design for the Cultural Precinct underground station and on Wednesday we agreed the deferral to a later stage was the correct decision so we can get on with the job,” Cr Schrinner said.

“It is a very complex project, with many stakeholders and it’s going to take time to finesse the Cultural Centre design, so we will not let this one site delay Brisbane Metro and its 2600 jobs any further.”

In fact, both levels of government praised the project’s transport potential and benefit to Brisbane’s economic recovery and jobs growth post-COVID-19.

“Brisbane Metro will be an important addition to the region’s transport network,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.

“We are working with Council to plan how Metro will connect with the wider public transport when the first services start in a few years, but news that construction could start soon is a significant milestone for the project.”

TransLink has been tasked with independent assessment of the new electric vehicles that will make up Metro’s fleet. An independent panel will assess the vehicles to ensure they will join the current network without significant interruptions. It will also look at how the Metros perform and integrate with the wider bus fleet.

Cr Schrinner said deferring the Cultural Centre Station to a later stage of the project was the most cost-effective and practical option.

 “Brisbane Metro is about getting people home quicker and safer, and spending more time arguing about the design of the Cultural Centre Station won’t get residents home quicker.”

 “It will also minimise disruption to traffic in South Brisbane, which already has major construction underway with the new QPAC theatre being built in Melbourne St.”

Construction processes at the Adelaide Street tunnel will also change.

 “Instead of the original cut-and-cover design, this section will be bored. This will minimise traffic disruption and allow us to deliver elements of the Adelaide Street vision,” Cr Schrinner said.

 “By tunnelling under Adelaide Street, we can maintain connection along one of Brisbane’s busiest streets, as well as minimise disruption to business.”

“All these changes will come at a cost to the project, which will be confirmed once discussion with the preferred tenderer have been finalised, but this allows us to get on with creating jobs,” Cr Schrinner said.

For now, it looks like the existing street-level station at the Cultural Precinct will be upgraded. Early works around the Cultural Precinct will continue so that the underground station can be delivered later.

Despite the changes, Mr Bailey said design work for a new Metro station at South Bank’s Cultural Centre precinct was continuing.

“Building the Cultural Centre Station is a fantastic opportunity to improve Brisbane’s cultural heart and our public transport network,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ll continue to work with Brisbane City Council through that process while it gets started on other parts of the Metro project.”

Early work is now underway at Brisbane Metro Depot at Rochedale and South Brisbane.

The Brisbane Metro is a high-frequency, all-electric, turn-up-and-go rapid public transport system expected to be up and running by 2023. Alongside the Cross River Rail, the projects will completely re-shape how Brisbane commutes.

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