Airport Link M7 and Northern Busway

Airport Link M7 and Northern Busway, QLD

The $4.8 billion Airport Link Project comprised the concurrent construction of three major infrastructure projects in Brisbane’s north, including the Airport Roundabout Upgrade and Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron). The centrepiece of this project however, was the Airport Link M7 motorway.

Delivered in joint venture with Thiess, the Airport Link M7 is a 6.7 kilometre toll road which mainly travels underground. It connects the CLEM7 tunnel, the Inner City Bypass and the local road network at Bowen Hills, to the northern arterials of Gympie Road and Stafford Road at Kedron, as well as Sandgate Road and the East West Arterial leading to the airport. The 6.7 kilometre Airport Link M7 required twin 5.1 kilometre tunnels, with entry and exit portals at Bowen Hills, Kedron and Toombul.

The three kilometre Northern Busway featured eight new bus stops, two architecturally-designed busway stations, and 1.5 kilometres of busway tunnel between the suburbs of Windsor and Kedron.

The Airport Roundabout Upgrade replaced the old signalised roundabout with a 750 metre Airport Flyover, linking the East West Arterial with Airport Drive, and a high capacity "fast diamond" intersection.

Major innovations on the project included:

  • Innovative jacked box technique implemented for construction of tunnels under six live rail tracks. This was the third largest jacked box construction in the world,
  • Construction of the Kedron interchange in driven tunnel, significantly reducing potential impact on local schools and local traffic,
  • Utilising variable arch formwork for concrete lining of mined tunnels, with varying lane configurations spanning from 17m to 30m in width.

Other key achievements for the project include:

  • Second largest jacking box in the world,
  • Use of Australia's two largest Tunnel Boring Machines,
  • Use of 17 road header machines (the most on any Australian construction project),
  • Construction of 25 bridges, 15 km of tunnelling and over 7 km of new road,
  • The largest road tunnel cavern in the southern hemisphere,
  • Nine major surface and tunnelling sites,
  • 37 kilometres of service relocations,
  • 250 traffic switches,
  • 350 environmental approvals.

With more than 28 million hours worked, the Airport Link Project had a positive impact on the local community not only through easing traffic congestion but also creating more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs, 3.5 hectares of new parkland and 13 kilometres of new cycle and walkways.

Key Awards:

  • Winner – 2013 Construction Methodology, IRF Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA), International Road Federation
  • Winner – 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards, R W Hawken Award, Engineers Australia Queensland Division
  • Winner – 2013 Delivered Outcome – Large Scale, Australian Award for Urban Design, Planning Institute
  • Winner – 2012 GE Awards, Award for Technical Excellence, Ground Engineering, UK
  • Winner – 2012 Engineering Excellence Awards, Research & Development, Engineers Australia Queensland Division