Motorists flock to Clem7 tunnel

The Clem Jones Tunnel has already begun to improve city traffic flow since its opening last night, despite a number of problems caused by curious motorists and breakdowns.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said 30,000 vehicles had already passed through the tunnel by 2pm today at the rate of more than 3,000 per hour, with traffic on the Storey Bridge down 15 percent at peak hour.

“Lots of people are taking advantage of the free period,” said Cr Newman.

But the Lord Mayor admitted the Clem7 tunnel was experiencing “teething problems,” after curious motorists and a breakdown this morning resulted in blockages in the tunnel.

Transit authorities monitoring the tunnel acted quickly to clear the blockages, and the Lord Mayor has indicated that line markings in the tunnel will be changed to reduce confusion in motorists.

Other Liberal National councillors were quick to throw their support behind the Clem7 tunnel.

“We have the first piece of major traffic-congestion-busting infrastructure out there,” said Deputy Mayor and infrastructure chairman Graham Quirk.

He said the Clem7 tunnel will be supported by the second Gateway Bridge, due in May, and the Go-Between Bridge in July, resulting in 40 percent additional cross-river lanes.

But Labor Party Councillor John Campbell took aim at the council for “inefficiency” in dealing with the Clem7 project.

Cr Campbell called the project a “blowout,” saying when it began under ALP Lord Mayor Jim Soorley it was projected to cost $1 billion with a $2 toll for cars.

Since then the price tag has ballooned to $3 billion, with motorists facing a $4.28 toll, more than double the original proposal.

Motorists will be able to enjoy the Clem7 free of charge until tolls come into effect on 5 April.

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