Another j2 event experience

AirportlinkM7 Bridge and Tunnel Experience

Portfolio Classification

Major Infrastructure

Events of Significance

Community Engagement

Location Brisbane AirportlinkM7, Bowen Hills portal
Year 2012
Client BrisConnections (owner and operator, AirportlinkM7)
Quick Facts


Sunday, 15 July 2012 date for event was influenced by construction timetable

Eight week lead-time once date was decided

Event footprint covered 3.5km

Parking and transport planning was put in place for up to 20,000 attendees

A special tour experience was designed for people with mobility assistance requirements

18 pallets of water was ordered with AirportlinkM7 Bridge and Tunnel Experience branding

More than 80 staff and volunteers worked on the day

Two interactive video screens were positioned throughout the tunnel


Airport Link is Australia's largest infrastructure project and will be the first major motorway linking Brisbane city to the northern suburbs and airport precinct, enabling drivers to avoid up to 18 sets of lights. Airport Link is a 6.7km toll road, mainly underground, connecting the Clem 7 Tunnel, Inner City Bypass and local road network at Bowen Hills, to the northern arterials of Gympie Road and Stafford Road at Kedron, Sandgate Road and the East West Arterial leading to the airport. In July 2012, after three and a half years of construction, the multi-lane, free-flow toll road was considered complete.

AirportlinkM7's owner and operator BrisConnections engaged j2 ideas & events to design and event-manage an experience for the public to walk and view an AirportlinkM7 tunnel before opening to vehicular traffic. As an event solutions provider, j2's background knowledge of AirportlinkM7's scale and complexity was unrivalled. Over three years, j2 had delivered two Thiess John Holland (the project's contractor) open days surrounding Airport Llink's construction and two further events that celebrate, reward and motivate the project's team members. On the weekend prior to the Bridge and Tunnel Experience, j2 was engaged by Thiess John Holland to produce a spectacular black-tie gala inside the southbound tunnel, Bowen Hills portal section of AirportlinkM7.

j2 could appreciate the imagination and boldness that has driven a project of this magnitude, making them the best creative direction and event management solutions provider to service BrisConnections needs on this once-in-a-lifetime community experience.

J2 Services and Solutions

Creative direction

Event management

Stakeholder liaison

Emergency services liaison

Interface with construction and BrisConnections team to determine design of event, on-site parameters, restrictions, access, etc

Design of an on-line registration system allowing participants to register for the Bridge and Tunnel Experience

Management of the online registration process and on-site registration on day of event

Sourcing, briefing and placement of volunteers

Interface with BrisConnections to oversee production of a suite of print materials and extensive signage requirements

Venue pageantry and theming

Entertainment and activity selection and management

Audiovisual design and management of contractors

Temporary infrastructure coordination and management of contractors

Production and stage management and oversight of event from bump in through bump out

Budget management and cost control

Risk mitigation and management


Level of Complexity

The project team triumphed over a range of complexities and challenges, not the least of these being legislated conditions imposed within a construction site, which the tunnel remained to be until opened to traffic.

Safety of crew and participants was of paramount importance given that access was granted to what remained considered a construction site. All event delivery staff and volunteers were inducted. Lead-up public communications needed to emphasise strict footwear requirements, which was enforced on the day requiring subtlety and discretion from event supervision staff.

AirportlinkM7 is designed for vehicular traffic – not pedestrian access. The roadway is undulating with many steep inclines and declines. For this community event, much consideration needed to be given to persons requiring mobility assistance and whether a wheelchair could in fact negotiate the inclines and declines on the proposed 3.5km pedestrian route. A shorter circuit was ultimately developed for those requiring mobility assistance and three separate crossover points were created along the experience to allow for varying abilities of physical stamina and agility.

The staging of the event took place across a 3.5km footprint, requiring significant logistical planning to ensure adequate event support crew were positioned from a patron safety and customer service/information perspective. The creative premise of the experience was about following an 'out-and-back' return walk course that journeyed visitors through the design and construction of AirportlinkM7 to the finished achievement. Participants on the outward journey (left side of the bridge, northbound lane) viewed information, trivia and interactive video screen and activities focussing on AirportlinkM7's construction and build. On the way back, the focus was on operation of the completed tunnel.

Road closure and construction timetable restrictions were enforced upon event planning. This required j2 to coordinate and schedule all installation, delivery and dismantle within an extremely limited 40 hour timeframe.

During the week prior, weather forecasts predicted rain for the event weekend involving wet weather contingency planning. As it eventuated, only a few droplets of rain were experienced around 5am on the morning of the Bridge and Tunnel Experience, and the remaining day's weather turned out beautifully.

Key Achievements

Development, coordination and delivery of a successful mass-public event with only an eight week lead-time.

Installing, delivering and dismantling the event in a 40 hour timeframe due to road closure and construction timetable restrictions.

j2 facilitated safe and engaging public access to the AirportlinkM7 bridges and tunnels without incident.

Interactive video screens and signage indicating surface position (above-ground recognisable points of reference) were positioned throughout the tunnels. This was commented upon by many visitors as a highlight of the experience that enabled them to appreciate the magnitude of the project and understand where they were underground.

On the weekend prior to the Bridge and Tunnel Experience, j2 was engaged by project contractor Thiess John Holland to produce a black-tie gala inside the same stretch of AirportlinkM7 tunnel. This breathtakingly spectacular event was a huge success (and the topic of a detailed case study on the j2 website). It also raised $80,000 for charity beneficiary, The Smith Family.

Stakeholder Feedback

"It was a very successful event in the judgement of everybody I spoke to, both during and after the event. These sentiments were also echoed by our Chairman, Trevor Rowe, who asked me to convey both his personal congratulations and appreciation for the effort of all staff and volunteers who took part to produce what was an excellent outcome. The feedback received from the Government, other stakeholders and the public has been great and the media coverage was in all cases really positive."

Raymond H Wilson – Chief Executive Officer, BrisConnections, Airportlink, Northern Busway (Windsor to Kedron) & Airport Roundabout Upgrade Projects

"Just a short note to thank you, Annette, Holly and the rest of your great team for a brilliant job with today's Community Open Day. I have had exceptional feedback from our Chairman, Trevor Rowe, and our CEO Ray Wilson. And I heard nothing but positive comments from the punters. Didn't get a chance to see the news coverage, but Tami tells me it was very good. Please pass on my thanks and congratulations to the rest of your team… Get some sleep tonight!"

Andrew Thornton – General Manager, Marketing, BrisConnections

"I just wanted to say a personal thank you for all the time you and your extended team put it to make the event a huge success! Everything came together so well. Our CEO was so happy with the outcome and very impressed by everything you all did to pull it together."

Erin Lucas – (former) Event Coordinator, BrisConnections