A New Tunnel Goes into Service in Australia

June 25, 2015

A highway tunnel named Legacy Way made its official debut in the city of Brisbane in the Australian state of Queensland. In keeping with an announcement that had been made by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk of Brisbane, the 2.9-mile (4.6-kilometer) tunnel was not actually opened to traffic until late that night.

Legacy Way, which consists of two tubes carrying two lanes each, serves as a key connection between the Western Freeway in Brisbane’s inner suburb of Toowong and a road known as the Inner City Bypass (ICB) in Brisbane’s inner suburb of Kelvin Grove. Legacy Way has reduced the average travel time between the Western Freeway and ICB from about 18 minutes to only four minutes during rush hour. Approximately 20,000 vehicles travel through the tunnel on a daily basis.

Legacy Way was developed as part of TramsApex, the Brisbane City Council’s transportation program for building new links that would help better connect various existing major routes with each other and significantly decrease local traffic congestion. In addition, Legacy Way holds the record as the largest infrastructure project to be initiated and completed by any city council in Australia to date.

Originally referred to as Northern Link Tunnel, the planned tunnel was renamed Legacy Way by the Brisbane City Council in 2010 to honor those who have served in the Australian Defense Force (encompassing the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, and the country’s other military branches). In the time since Legacy Way opened, one cent of every toll paid for driving through the tunnel has gone to the Australian non-profit organization Legacy. This organization provides support to the families of incapacitated or deceased Australian Defense Force veterans.

Construction on Legacy Way began in 2011. Two Herrenknecht Double Shield tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were used for the project. The TBM used for the westbound tube was named Annabell as a tribute to Annabell MacKinney; her father, Army Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney had been killed in action in the war in Afghanistan in 2010. The TBM used for the eastbound tube was named Joyce in honor of Joyce Tweddell, a nurse who demonstrated exemplary courage as a prisoner of the Japanese on the island of Sumatra during World War II. After returning to Australia, r, Tweddell worked as chief radiographer (radiologic technologist) at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

The public walking tour of Legacy Way in May 2015

Twenty-six days before Legacy Way was opened to vehicular traffic, the Brisbane City Council sponsored a community event in which people could inspect the tunnel first-hand and walk through either part or all of the new structure. More than 20,000 people, traveling to the site via buses during the day, ended up taking part in that walk-through opportunity.

Photo Credits: An automobile drive inside Legacy Way, taken by Kgbo; the Legacy Way walk-through event, taken by Theduong (both images licensed under Creative Commons)

For more information on the opening of Legacy Way, please check out  http://offline.bmag.com.au/your-brisbane/brisbane-extra/2015/06/25/legacy-way-opens-to-traffic/

Additional information on this tunnel is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legacy_Way

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