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Kingsford Smith Drive: Tunnel or Duplication?
9 February 2010
Anyone who regularly uses Kingsford Smith Drive in Hamilton knows that it's close to capacity. As the expected 15,000 new residents slowly move into the new Hamilton Northshore and associated developments it will only get worse. Much worse.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has resurrected a plan to build a tunnel under Kingsford Smith Drive to help, but is this the right answer?
The idea for a Kingsford Smith Drive tunnel was originally conceived by Newman in his 2004 TransApex plan for Brisbane, but was quickly abandoned to make way for other projects such as the Clem7 tunnel and the airport link.
Newman last week told reporters that he was looking at all options:
"You can widen it out over the river, but I don't particularly like that.
"You can widen it and put a public transport corridor like a bus lane or ultimately light rail over the water.
"Or you can build a tunnel. They are the only options you have got."
Current traffic projections predict 71,000 vehicles a day will use the riverside stretch of Kingsford Smith Drive by 2026, up 22% from today's figure of 58,000. Near the growing Hamilton Northshore project and Brisbane Airport, traffic will jump by 45% from 55,000 to 80,000 a day.
Newman's original TransApex plan had proposed an $800 million, 3.9 kilometre underground 'Kingsford Smith Drive Duplication', which would connect to the Inner City Bypass near the Breakfast Creek Hotel.
The plan is now under consideration by council, and more detailed study is expected by Christmas 2010.