Today in Transportation History – March 16, 2010: Brisbane Opens a New 3-Mile-Long Motorway Tunnel

In Australia’s state of Queensland, the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (CLEM7) in the city of Brisbane first became fully operational at 12:02 a.m. after individual segments of the new structure had been progressively opened to vehicular traffic starting the previous day. The tunnel, which carries the motorway M7 under the Brisbane River and encompasses a toll road portion of the route, provides a connection between the Brisbane suburbs of Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills.

The original plans for the CLEM7 were officially proposed in 2001 by Brisbane’s then-Lord Mayor Jim Soorley. Clem Jones, for whom the tunnel was named, was the city’s lord mayor from 1961 to 1975 and served in that position longer than anyone else.

Construction on the tunnel began in 2006, and it turned out to be one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Queensland. Measuring three miles in length, the CLEM7 also had the distinction of being Australia’s longest road tunnel until the 4.2-mile Airport Link tunnel in the same region of Queensland was completed in 2012.

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