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BRISBANE faces a “tsunami of trucks” — with an extra 2.4 million big-rig trips on our roads each year — unless a dedicated freight rail line is built to the city’s busting port.
The Sunday Mail can reveal the long-discussed missing link in the Queensland capital’s transport network would also deliver an $820 million annual economic, social and environmental dividend and create 1200 jobs a year.
These are the findings of a comprehensive report conducted for the Port of Brisbane by consultants Deloitte which found the current freight system was forcing tens of thousands of additional trucks onto Brisbane’s roads.
The concept of linking the multi-model freight hub at Acacia Ridge in the city’s south to the privatised port in the east through a dedicated freight line has been the subject of numerous studies, modelling and investigations for a generation.
Port of Brisbane CEO Roy Cummins. Picture: Peter WallisCrucially, the link would realise the full benefits of the transformative 1700km Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project by allowing double-stacked trains to travel straight to the port, rather than being unloaded onto trucks at Acacia Ridge for the trip through the suburbs.
One recent study recommended a tunnel branching off the current interstate rail line south of Acacia Ridge to the Gateway Motorway and then an above and below ground track shadowing the motorway before veering off to the port.
Another study is currently being conducted by the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The prohibitive costs and the prospect of significant resumptions has caused state and federal politicians to baulk at the project whenever it has been proposed.
However, the 115-page Deloitte investigation has found the cost of this do-nothing approach has put an economic handbrake on Brisbane by adding to congestion and road maintenance costs while causing commuters to suffer additional accidents.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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