Investigative drilling has begun under the Brisbane River as part of works for the $5 billion Underground Bus and Train project.

Brisbane public transport has needed a makeover for a while. In my experience, timetables are a vague guide that you rely on at your own risk.

Luckily there is still hope; drilling investigations began last Thursday on an Underground Bus and Train project.

Premier Campbell Newman, Acting Transport and Main Roads Minister Lawrence Springborg, and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk have visited the Sea Lift 7 barge, which started geotechnical drilling investigations.

All three had high hopes for the new project and what it will do for public transport in Brisbane.

“The drilling work is one of the first steps in a project that will revolutionise public transport in Brisbane,” Mr Newman said.

Mr Springborg said the underground project describes the new tunnel as affordable compared to Labor’s previous options.

“Unlike Labor’s options, this project combines rail and bus in a single, double-decked, 15-metre-wide tunnel located about 50 metres below the Brisbane River,” Mr Springborg said.

The drilling investigation involves drilling at least 13 holes up to 60 metres deep into the river bed. The tunnel will then be carved from the earth by the largest, hard rock tunnel-boring machine ever used in Australia.

The 5.4-kilometre north-south tunnel will include new underground stations at Woolloongabba, George Street and Roma Street, and will provide a critical new link in South East Queensland’s public transport network.

“It will double the capacity of the rail and bus networks, take pressure off existing infrastructure, and make way for future growth, “says Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

The drill is located on a large barge. Over the next few days the barge will move between Lower River Terrace Park in Kangaroo Point and the City Botanic Gardens.

The drilling is expected to be completed by April. The Terms of Reference for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement was released by the Coordinator-General this week signalling the start of a rigorous whole-of-government assessment of the potential impacts of the project.

Do you think the new tunnel will improve public transport in Brisbane ?