Clem Jones Tunnel

Orientation & Geography

Australia, Australia, Queensland

The M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (CLEM7), known during its development as the North-South Bypass Tunnel (NSBT), is a A$3.2 billion toll road built under the Brisbane River, which crosses between the suburbs of Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills in Brisbane, Australia. The CLEM7 Community Open Day, a public open day which included a tunnel run and walk was held on 28 February 2010. The tunnel was progressively opened to traffic from late on 15 March 2010 until just after midnight on the 16. It was completely open - all lanes, both directions - by 12.02 am. The tunnel was originally proposed by then Labor Lord Mayor Jim Soorley in 2001, and was incorporated into the Liberal Party candidate Campbell Newman's five tunnel vision, called TransApex in 2002. In December 2007, Brisbane City Council decided to name the tunnel the Clem Jones Tunnel in honour of the former lord mayor. On 16 July 2008, the Government of Queensland announced that the tunnel "heralds Queensland’s newest motorway - the M7". The M7 motorway will also include the Airport Link tunnel. The project is Brisbane’s first privately financed inner city toll road. The road is the city's largest road infrastructure project and one of Queensland's largest infrastructure projects. With tunnel length of 4.8 km it is the longest road tunnel in the country until the planned 6.7 km Airport Link tunnel is complete. Construction bids were provided by a tender process in which RiverCity Motorway was selected over the Brisconnections consortium. The project commenced in September 2006, with tunneling using two very large boring machines completing digging by May 2009. The tunnel is tolled via an electronic tolling system. The tunnel design includes extensive safety systems, a traffic control centre and speed cameras. The price of the toll has been criticised as too expensive and the ventilation stacks as too intrusive. Patronage of the tunnel decreased by more than 65% in the week following the introduction of a reduced toll period, and remains considerably lower than the predicted traffic volumes. Despite being completed on-time and on-budget, the Tunnel has been an economic failure due to incorrect predictions of traffic volume. RiverCity Motorway has been unable to collect enough tolls to pay the interest on its $1.3 billion debt and went into receivership. With no hope of profit, and therefore no dividend, RiverCity Motorways shares are now worthless, costing investors millions.