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Brisbane Roads to Avoid if You Are on a Budget

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by M.T. Ellis (subscribe)
M.T. Ellis is a freelance writer living in Brisbane who enjoys getting out and about with her husband and their dogs. She published her debut novel, Azrael, in May 2017 and is currently writing her second book. www.mtellis.com.au
Published February 13th 2014
This morning I made a wrong turn onto a toll road and decided to see how much this mistake cost me. I still don't know because I can't figure out what part of the AirportLinkM7 I got stuck on, dammit.

I have compiled a list of the expensive roads I found:

On the north side there is the AirportLinkM7 tunnel, which connects the East West Arterial Road with the CLEM7, the Inner City Bypass, the local road network at Bowen Hills and the northern arterials of Gympie Road and Stafford Road at Kedron. The AirportLinkM7 also connects East West Arterial Road with Sandgate Road at Toombul. Got that? I sort of know what it says.

The prices for a car to travel through the AirportLinkM7 are:

Route 1: Between Bowen Hills and Kedron $3.53
Route 2: Between Bowen Hills and Toombul $4.48
Route 3: Between Kedron and Toombul $3.53

Here you will find a toll calculator for the AirportLinkM7, which has an interactive map to make it easier to understand what you are being charged for (providing you know where you are).

The Gateway Motorway runs over the Brisbane River connecting the north and the south sides of Brisbane. The toll points for the Gateway Motorway are on the southern side of the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges (also known as the Gateway Bridges) in Murarrie. You will be charged a toll whether you travel north or south over the bridge. The toll for a car costs $4.13. You will also be charged $2.43 for traveling on the Gateway Extension at Kuraby. This extension runs through to the Logan Motorway at Drewvale.

There are three toll points on the Logan Motorway. The ones at Heathwood and Paradise Road will cost you $3.86 for a car and the toll point at Loganlea will cost you $1.56. So if you have to travel on the Logan Motorway from the Ipswich Motorway to Drews Road you will pass through three tolls with in a few minutes of each other at a cost of $9.28. You'll probably be heading home that way too, awesome.

The Go Between is another bridge over the Brisbane River that connects the north side to the south. The Go Between Bridge connects Coronation Drive and Hale Street in Milton on the Northside to Montague Road, Merivale and Cordelia Streets on South and will cost you $2.88 in a car.

The Clem7 is a tunnel that runs under the Brisbane River from Woolloongabba to Bowen Hills. It links the Pacific Motorway, Ipswich Road, Lutwyche Road, the Inner City Bypass and Shafston Avenue at Kangaroo Point. The CLEM7 and the AirportLinkM7 connect to make the M7 Motorway, which is said to improve the access from the Brisbane Airport to the southern suburbs.

It's actually quite amazing, when driving through the CLEM7, to know the 6.8km tunnel you are travelling in is actually 60 meters underneath the Brisbane River. This however, doesn't mean I want to pay $4.72 for the privilege.

Legacy Way is being built now. It is a tunnel that will connect the Western Freeway at Toowong to the Inner City Bypass at Kelvin Grove. Construction should be completed in 2015. Who knows how much this toll point will cost motorists.

When paying a toll for using the M7 you must pay AirportlinkM7, but if you are using the Gateway Motorway, Logan Motorway or the Go Between Bridge you are to pay GoVia who are the 'Toll Payment Provider' for those toll points. To make things even more complicated, you must pay Flow to use the Clem7 Tunnel even though the Clem7 is operated by Queensland Motorways; who are the same 'Toll Road Operator' for the Gateway Motorway, Logan Motorway and the Go Between Bridge. Excuse me, what?

To make it easier the Toll Payment Providers will use each other's Toll Transponders to charge you. Just make sure your transponder is working and placed in the correct position on your windscreen.

As well as the toll, you're looking at fees for video matching if you don't have a toll transponder in your car, manual top-up fees if you don't want to set up an automatic deduction, late fees, lost transponder fees and the list goes on. These fees range from fifty cents to forty dollars.

No wonder I never look at my toll account statements. I just set up an automatic deduction from my credit card, stick my head in the sand and hope for the best.

What do you think of the tolls in Brisbane? Leave a comment below.
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Where: Brisbane
Cost: Low
Your Comment
i think the toll roads are an abomination , restricting free travel , and difficult to avoid. i do not go to brisbane unless absolutely necessary
by nickd (score: 0|5) 455 days ago
Tolls are a FULL rip off on motorists. If we need more roads we obviously have ALOT more cars so where is all the money collected from the car regos, fuel tax etc going? It's certainly not on new or existing roads. Why should motorists be targeted and expected to pay more into the treasuey to fund othger things, the answer is they shouldn't be at all.
by ask (score: 0|3) 970 days ago
So given that the state government is broke (apparently), and they have only a limited amount of money to spend on services, and there are other pesky things like, oh, schools, hospitals etc (you know that stuff that is far less important than roads) how do you propose that they fund major road projects to try and alleviate gridlock, and more importantly, provide some employment?

If you don't like it move to Hobart. They have no toll roads.
by kirk. (score: 0|8) 2013 days ago
Completely agree re Toll Roads. Last November due to GoVia & Flow changing who looks after what, I was charged for 3 video searches even though my Transporter had never failed in the past. After several phone calls NOBODY wanted to know about it. "Not our fault." Gave up & stopped using the toll ways. MKR
by meryl (score: 0|2) 2015 days ago
The toll tunnels are very badly signed for exit and destination! I think the tolls are far to expensive: who in their right minds wants to pay such high subs unless the boss or firm will pick up the tab. Those poor souls like me who were lured in accidentally ended up with $20 + because we were not e-tagged and did not know where to exit and ended up miles from where we wanted to go. Will never voluntarily go there again.
by DONOV (score: 0|6) 2015 days ago
Great article, thanks for your research and for posting
by charb (score: 1|59) 2008 days ago
Brilliant to have such amazing transport infrastructure delivered. If it were not tolled and hence state funded we would not have these in place now.

I enjoy using them and am happy to pay for the priveledge of getting where i want sooner and stress free.
by Nzgaz (score: 0|2) 2010 days ago
I love the tunels, but they are horribly poorly signed and if you do not know 2 km ahead on which lane to be NOT to enter, you are done. It happened to me on Saturday and I am a local !
by Vcl (score: 1|22) 2013 days ago
If you factor in the time and petrol saved by using the tunnels the cost of the toll is not so bad.
by pokes (score: 0|5) 2013 days ago
I think motorists should boycott the toll roads.If no one is travelling on them, it may force them to lower the charges ...
I don't use them at all. I rather plan to travel a bit longer. I pay enough tax already! Why can't some of the taxes be used to partly subsidise the tolls?
by anse (score: 1|84) 2015 days ago
I have used the tunnels often for visits to P.A. hospital &/or South Brisbane. I live at Taigum, I have used other tolls also - Gateway to visit daughter at Southport and have gone from Toombul to Kedron - Done return journeys also. I use them as I am often running late! I have found them alright to travel through although some drivers have lead foots! I have not had any problems and arrive at my destinations on time. So I guess I am getting more use to them by using them! BUT , yes, I do feel that the tolls are high. These tunnels have become necessary as we 'hold' onto our cars! More cars travelling on ALL roads, I have also travelled often on buses through the tunnels and amazed at how it cuts down on time.
by shele (score: 1|20) 2013 days ago
Toll roads here are confusing and badly signed, not to mention GPS guidance which is lost inside the tunnels, hence you don't know how to get out of next bit of toll, especially M7. You miss one exit and suddenly you are in M7 for next 10Km!
by freep (score: 0|2) 2014 days ago
This is an issue that I've been pursuing for more than a year now. See facebook page Toll Co's Show Me The Money.
I have made representations to my state MP and the Transport Minister who have responded. I have also contested these charges with the Toll operators, who are actually breaking Federal Laws (see details on facebook) by not making pricing clear at toll entrances. The Qld government is actually conniving with the operators and have even gone so far as to pass legislation that conflicts with Federal Law (note that Commonwealth law overrules state law). The toll operators even have the temerity and gaul to endorse a City Council Customer Service Charter to formalise a commitment to high standards of customer service.
Many motorists (especially older ones who remember when taxes covered transport infrastructure and young people who are aware of how the system works) object to tolls on the principle that privatisation represents a shift in wealth to the investment class. I don't think there has been a survey to find out how many potential customers the toll operators are losing to boycott action.
I am calling on Brisbane motorists to form a class action against the operators and state government. If anyone knows of a legal firm willing to take this on, I for one would like to know of them. Financial Redress is one potential firm, who are currently successfully challenging ANZ for unreasonable fees.
by saimon (score: 0|8) 2015 days ago
the tunnels are fantastic. end of story
by JP (score: 0|5) 2015 days ago
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