ONE TRACK MIND
Cost blowout as experts ignored
FORMER Cross River Rail minister Jackie Trad ignored expert advice and forged ahead with plans for a flawed new station in her electorate – potentially costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, secret documents reveal.
Bidders for the $5.4bn project, along with its delivery authority and technical team, all warned the proposed Boggo Road station was littered with engineering and safety problems.
THE Palaszczuk government ignored expert advice and proceeded with a flawed new Cross River Rail station in Jackie Trad’s electorate in a bungle that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, explosive secret documents have revealed.
The series of leaked briefing notes and confidential papers have exposed how bidders for the $5.4bn project along with its delivery authority and technical team warned the proposed Boggo Road station was littered with engineering and safety problems.
However, the government forged ahead anyway with its plan to build at Boggo Road and redevelop the old Dutton Park Station, rejecting a proposal for a single station on land behind Princess Alexandria Hospital that was cheaper and safer.
The second-term Labor administration signed a multibillion-dollar contract with a consortium to build the muchhyped underground rail link in June last year, despite knowing the alignment did not meet state legislation, national rail laws or engineering standards.
Among the 45 identified flaws were warnings of “traction loss” in wet weather, significant wear on rolling stock due to the slope and curve of the track near Boggo Road, and ongoing platform gap issues at Dutton Park.
The situation has now deteriorated with the consortium chosen to build Cross River Rail, Pulse, ordered six months ago to “stop all works based on the original design” at the project’s southern end.
An interdepartmental committee is attempting to find solutions which insiders say could cost $600m-$900m more than the alternative plan. Pulse and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA) are at loggerheads, with the consortium demanding compensation under the terms of its contract which stipulates it can be paid up to $2m a day for delays.
In a briefing note to former deputy premier Ms Trad on
There are expected to be cost benefits ... compared with the Boggo Road option.