Brisbane motorists bypass the Bypass Tunnel

In a new twist of Brisbane’s road tunnel saga motorists avoid the newly opened North South Bypass Tunnel (renamed into Clem7)

The original strategy of 5 TransApex road tunnels in Brisbane is 10 years old. The financial performance of these tunnels was based on many untested assumptions including a continuing roll-over of debt, motorists’ preparedness to pay indexed tolls, easy oil and energy supplies, a smooth and seamless transition to new car technologies and booming population. The convergence of the world’s accumulated debt crisis and limited oil supplies since 2005 has now put these assumptions into doubt .

This article documents in a dramatic way how the NSBT decision making process missed one peak oil warning after the other. In May 2005, Premier Beattie appointed an Oil Vulnerability Task Force, yet the planning process for the NSBT went ahead regardless, completely disconnected from the early findings of this task force. Oil vulnerability research from one of Brisbane’s own universities, the Griffith University, was also ignored. In the Product Disclosure Statement, car dependency was even seen as a positive, forcing commuters to use tunnels.

Only weeks before the PDS was published, Dr. Bakhtiari, one of only 2 OPEC whistleblowers , had given a 3 hr testimony to the Senate Inquiry on future oil supplies saying new economic rules would apply after peak oil. His advice was to implement the Transperth model (electric rail) to rescue the suburbs.

NSBT traffic projections for the period up to 2026 superimposed on Australian oil production as estimated by Geoscience Australia. Note that only 5 % of condensate can be processed by Australian refineries. A huge oil import gap is clearly visible.

14/4/2010 Clem7 tunnel slammed as traffic snarls

2/6/2010 Traffic woes could keep Clem7 toll low

The owner of Brisbane’s Clem7 tunnel denies the company is in financial strife as it considers extending discounted tolls to boost dismal traffic flows.

Between 22,000 and 24,000 vehicles use the cross-city tunnel each day, well short of the 60,000 forecast.

60,000? It was supposed to be more than 80,000:

The project history shows how peak oil was ignored: