Queensland Rail and BMD Constructions are leading work on a major rail upgrade along the Toowoomba Range, which will support 100 construction jobs locally.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the government was investing $48 million to increase the height of 11 rail tunnels on the Toowoomba and Little Liverpool Ranges, enabling the transport of containerised freight by rail from the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Regions directly to the Port of Brisbane.
“This vital project will not only help to support the growth and prosperity of Queensland’s agricultural sector, it will also provide a welcome boost to the local construction industry,” Mr Bailey said.
“Foundation and preparation works have commenced with further preparation works to be undertaken during a scheduled track closure of the western rail line at the end of February. The first tunnels will be lowered during a major track closure in April.
“The lowering of 11 rail tunnel floors on the Toowoomba and Little Liverpool Ranges will create the clearance necessary to transport 9’6” high cube freight shipping containers via rail, increasingly being used to export goods.”
Mr Bailey said BMD Constructions, which has local offices in Toowoomba, and design partners WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, had completed the detailed design for the project, and that Queensland Rail would continue to work with BMD Constructions during the construction phase.
The work is expected to take about a year to complete.
Constructed in the 1860s, the tunnels are stone and brick lined. Mr Bailey said the project would strike a balance between maintaining the heritage status of the tunnels, while providing the modern day upgrade required.