Kinsgford Smith Drive upgrade opens a year late but under budget27th October 2020
In February 2019, then-lord mayor Graham Quirk said the council expected “very little” contingency on the massive project to be recouped.
Construction company Lendlease, contracted for the road upgrade, reported a $47 million cost blowout to the project that month as a result of unexpected riverside problems.
The additional cost of the road-widening project was borne by Lendlease, council said at the time.
Cr Schrinner on Tuesday said the road was the biggest road project in the city’s history, and now provided upgraded parkland, bikeways and a tree-lined boulevard into the city.
“This road is an engineering marvel that’s employed over 5000 people who have undertaken more than 4.1 million hours of work over the course of the project,” he said.
“It’s a gateway to the city from Brisbane Airport, the TradeCoast and the Sunshine Coast which has now been widened from four to six lanes, including two built out over the river, intersection upgrades and changes to boost safety for all road users.
“It will be a tree-lined boulevard that greets visitors as a grand entrance to our beautiful city.”
Cr Schrinner said the cost savings would be issued as a rates rebate of nearly $30 a ratepayer, extending the six-month rates freeze announced in June for another quarter.
But opposition leader Jared Cassidy said the $15 million in savings was “just $15 million left over from the tens of millions put aside in contingency money”.
“What Schrinner isn’t telling you is in that same rates bill he’s planning a massive rates hike. He’s also planning a second rates hike for the back half of 2021.”
Cr Cassidy said the rebate was a “small consolation prize” for struggling families, and local businesses had been struggling for years as Kingsford Smith Drive’s upgrade dragged on.
Road speed limits will increase from 40km/h to 60km/h as traffic returns to normal.
Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.