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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended her government's decision to forge ahead with a new train station for its Cross River Rail project despite experts warning of engineering and safety flaws.
Confidential briefing notes leaked to the state opposition reveal that technical experts, contract bidders and the project's delivery authority warned of issues with building the new Boggo Road station and upgrading Dutton Park station.
The consortium chosen to build the $5.4 billion project originally wanted to redevelop land at the back of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, known as the "New Dutton Park", but the proposal was rejected by the government’s cabinet budget review committee last year.
The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority advised then-minister Jackie Trad in February 2019 that the New Dutton Park station would be cheaper, reduce noise and benefit staff and patients at the PA Hospital.
Engineers advised the government it would be easier to build a station at the back of the hospital, but the government decided to construct a new station at Boggo Road and upgrade the existing Dutton Park station.
During question time on Tuesday morning, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington asked why the government "overruled expert engineering and safety advice about Cross River Rail".
One of the 75 New Generation Rollingstock trains which will be used on Cross River Rail.
Ms Palaszczuk said it would save commuters on the Gold Coast and Cleveland rail lines an eight-minute or nine-minute walk.
"Over 500,000 commuters will have the benefit of hopping on Cross River Rail and not having to get off at the train station and walk for eight or nine minutes," she said.
Cross River Rail Minister Kate Jones said the government "decided on the design that delivered the best option for more commuters across the south-east".
"I can confirm that the government did examine the benefits and disadvantages of the proposed alternative, known as New Dutton [Park] Station, however, we decided against this option as we believed it would not deliver a superior option for commuters.
"For example, Bayside and eastern suburb residents on the Cleveland Line would have been significantly disadvantaged by the new Dutton station compared to the Boggo Road interchange we are delivering.
"I’m advised modelling showed that a commuter coming from Cannon Hill, for instance, would have to get off the train at Park Road and walk up to nine minutes away from the city, back-tracking, to the new Dutton station in order to connect to the Cross River Rail underground.
"The government did not think this was a suitable solution, given the significant growth that is happening in the eastern corridor and bayside suburbs."
Ms Frecklington said the government had "ignored the safety and technical advice from Queensland Rail, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority and the proponent".
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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