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Brisbane Airport Link tunnels open to traffic

30 July 2012

With more than six years and 1,700 people working on the design, design partners Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup as the PBA JV, saw the first vehicles use Australia’s largest and most complex transport infrastructure project, when it officially opened to traffic last week.

The Airport Link, Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) and Airport Roundabout Upgrade projects together form an extensive $5.6bn transport project comprising a toll road and dedicated busway route, together involving almost 12km of tunnel, 25 connection bridges and a major upgrade of the existing motorway interchange.

The final major project milestone occurred on 24 July, a few moments before midnight with traffic being directed into the tunnels at 11:57pm. Characterised by its sheer size, extreme complexity and world class innovative design, the AirportlinkM7 project as it is known, provides a vital transport solution for the demands of Brisbane’s burgeoning population.

Luke vanHeuzen, Major Projects Executive with Parsons Brinckerhoff, and PBA JV Project Director, led a team of more than 1,700 people from Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup and 25 local and international subconsultants.

This project is a model of what can be achieved through effective teamwork. The close working relationship that developed between the PBA JV and Thiess John Holland (TJH) team helped to successfully deliver this complex piece of infrastructure in a constrained brownfields location in under four years of construction effort.The technical excellence displayed on the project extended from the innovation shown in the tender design through to the groundbreaking detailed design and the coordination of the construction works. I am extremely proud of the combined efforts of every person in the PBA JV team, and of their efforts in support of our construction delivery partners TJH. Together we have achieved the outstanding results that is the Airport Link project.

- Luke vanHeuzen, PBA JV Project Director

Marty Scrogings, a Principal with Arup, was the Technical Director for the project, which,including the one-year tender phase, spanned nearly six years.

It has been a long and intense journey, but we have delivered an unprecedented piece of infrastructure for Australia and the entire design team should be very proud of what has been achieved. Technically, many parts of the design are groundbreaking and innovative, both above and below the ground. Overcoming the many challenges within a tight timeframe required the most thoughtful and intelligent design which included sophisticated 3D finite element/finite difference modelling, time step simulation modelling, and full scale prototype testing. Engineering in its purest sense is about problem solving and in delivering these projects we embraced this most fundamental principle – providing technical solutions to problems that have never been previously encountered.

- Marty Scrogings, PBA JV Technical Director

The PBA JV developed a successful expression of interest submission and tender design in 2007, and took it through to a detailed design and construction phase services. This team represents the largest single project team raised by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup combined for a project in Australia.