On-ramp repairs may take 'weeks'

RESHNI RATNAM

A SIGNIFICANT increase in commuters on Ipswich and Brisbane public transport systems was expected yesterday as thousands of people opted for buses and trains instead of driving to work. A crack detected on the Brisbane Riverside Expressway on Tuesday meant commuters faced their third day of traffic mayhem. TransLink general manager Luke Franzmann said extra train services had been made available for Ipswich and Brisbane commuters. "QR has adjusted their train schedules to better cater for extra patronage on most of the Citytrain network ? this means extra train carriages and additional services," Mr Franzmann said. "Brisbane Transport has provided extra bus services during peaks along the busiest corridors. "More people chose to catch the train this morning however minimal delays were experienced on the train network. "There was about a 20% increase across the Citytrain network. As expected, there were delays on bus services this morning." Ipswich commuters who braved the decision to drive were stuck in traffic as far back as the Centenary Highway at 8am. Sections of the Riverside Expressway have been closed to traffic since the 0.4mm crack was found. Transport Minister Paul Lucas apologised to thousands of frustrated commuters for the mayhem, but said the closures were vital because engineers believed a two-metre long hairline crack on the Ann Street on-ramp was a sign it could collapse. The gridlock paralysing central Brisbane during peak hour was expected to continue until at least the end of the week as Main Roads officials investigated ways to fix the crack. The government urged commuters to seek alternatives, such as public transport and car pooling. But Mr Lucas warned commuters to be prepared for the worst. "Whether it's something that can be simply done with certain work or whether in the ultimate case we might have to replace it (the ramp) ? that's what they are going to have a look at," Mr Lucas said. He conceded replacing the on-ramp would "probably at least" take weeks. -Additional reporting by AAP



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