Brisbane Tunnel(s)

I thought the evidence was pretty obvious by now that spending massive amounts of money on freeways, tunnels and extra road space inevitably just leads to more people using cars, with a corresponding increase in pollution levels and a return to the traffic congestion levels that were used to justify the major roadworks in the first place.

Despite this, the Brisbane City Council, with a Liberal Lord Mayor, enthusiastically supported by the Labor State Government, have taken a major step towards locking the city in to at least 2 tunnels which will cost at least two billion dollars each. Yet those who argue for more money for public transport will be told it’s too expensive!

The online version of the local Courier-Mail is seeking public comment. Click here to read the comments to date and to get other information on the issue.

As the first reader comment states, the recent House of Representatives Environment Committee Inquiry into Sustainable Cities showed that:

“cities where public transport travel is faster than car travel spend less on transport (both road and public transport) and have greater economic growth. The sales pitch of Build Roads to reduce congestion and save our Economy is false advertising at its worst.

The first tunnel, known as the North-South Bypass, will run from near the Gabba under the Brisbane River to near the Exhibition Grounds, coming out around intersections which already get clogged from traffic coming off the existing Inner City Bypass.

While the next tunnel, the so-called Airport Link (which doesn’t actually go to the airport, but instead links to an arterial road which already gets clogged every morning with people trying to get to the airport) has yet to be approved, it will be an inevitability if the North-South Bypass is built, as the demand to solve the logjam it will create at its northern exit will be deafening.

Exhaust stacks to release the traffic fumes from the tunnel will be about as high as the floodlight towers at the Gabba. The towers will not filter the exhaust fumes. Strangely enough, the Council has been very reticent where the towers are likely to go, but one will have to be situated very close to the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

More pollution, greater traffic, bigger debt for the Council – it’s amazing what politicians can get away with just by promising a few minutes off the trip in the car. And of course by the time the promise is shown to be so much hot (and polluted and very expensive) air, the politician will be long retired, and future generations will be stuck carrying the can.

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  1. there is solutions to brisys prob but as long as the govt only lisends to academics the prob will only get worse.
    i dont live in bris now but lived in bris from 72 till 95 so i know the problems.
    there is a oppotunity for australia to lead the world there .

  2. “future generations will be stuck carrying the can.”

    The good news is that if we have a major energy crisis the traffic jams will go away. :-)

    Even that won’t solve the problem of unnecessary public debt, though. :-(

    But hey, don’t listen to me. I’m only an academic.

  3. typical academic
    The good news is that if we have a major energy crisis the traffic jams will go away. :-)

    the bad news in that situation is that you will get very hungry .
    proves you are not mutch of an academic thought they solved probs whats you solution to brisys situation?

  4. I don’t care if someone is an acedemic as long as they keep it in their own bedroom and don’t force their views on others.

    Anyway, tunnels. more cars, more oil, more land dedicated to the car, more pollution. These are the crises of modern cities and there are simply no answers without major changes to public infrastructure and private lifestyles. The status-quo authorities look for bandaid solutions, like the freeways that emerged in the seventies to prevent traffic congestion. They have been constantly expanded and still suffer congestion. Brisbanes system of tunnels and bridges is just the next expansion providing short term relief. Aside from the health and lifestyle consequences, especially the centralisation of pollution through the exhaust towers, these major projects do not provide ongoing solutions to anything,

    Inner city roads are just one piece of the whole oil-dependent jigsaw puzzle. Look at the amount of oil, and roads, to get a tomatoe from the farm to the market to the store to the home.

    Brisbane city council for some time has been encouraging high density unit developments in the inner suburbs and C.B.D. All of these unit developments have car parks, sometimes two. A massive rise in innercity residences is good for the council’s rate base but it also brings hundreds of thousands more vehicles into the allready congested areas.

    The limited parameters of “traffic planning” can only come up with bandaid options to make the best of what we have based on how things are now. Whole communities, and all of them, need to be redisigned allowing for local food production and manufacturing to minimise transport requirements. And of course public transport. As long as you have to pay for public transport, and billions continue to be spent on road upgrades, most travellers will go by private vehicle.

    Brisbane boasts an expanding public transport use. This is very deceptive., cant give accurate figures as I can’t remember where I found them but Suth East Queensland has the highest population growth in the whole of Australia. The increase of public transport usage is lower than the overall increase in population, meaning in real terms a decreasing percentage of the population is using public transport.

    The only way to reduce traffic congestion is to rip up roads and dedicate the land to other purposes and develop apropriate transport systems based on the new land use systems.

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  6. I certainly hope they learn a few things from the NSW State Government’s recent controversial PPP tunnelwork in Sydney.

  7. If they’d learnt anything from Sydney, it would be that spending $1 billion to ease congestion only solves the problem for 10 years maximum. Then you’ve got the same congestion all over again.

    Imagine what they’d have now if they’d spent $1 billion on public transport infrastructure. One bus lane on the Sydney Harbour Bridge carries as many people as all the other car lanes combined.

  8. It would seem I’m not going to get too much of an argument from folk in this thread. The people are frustrated with this sort of rubbish and still the micro-minds of governments of alltiers are mesmerised. What can be the attraction for them?
    Will commend to readers Melbourne “Age” economics commentator Ken Davidson’s article from last Thursday, on basically the same sort of thing, entitled,
    “a gift to developers from us all”

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