Cross River Rail adopts five sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon footprint in QLD

carbon emissions, cross river rail, queensland, sustainability,


Cross River Rail has implemented five new sustainability practices to minimise its environmental impact during construction.

While Cross River Rail will play a key role in reducing Queensland’s carbon footprint in the future as more Queenslanders opt to use public transport, the project has also adopted a range of sustainable initiatives. 

There are five ways Cross River Rail is reducing its carbon footprint as the project continues to take shape.


At Mayne Yard, some pavements are reinforced with eMesh – small, recycled macro synthetic fibres – rather than steel.

The five-centimetre-long fibres in eMesh act as mini rebars for concrete, providing a more sustainable, safer and cost-effective alternative for concrete reinforcement.

Crushed recycled glass sand

So far, around 2,000 tonnes of glass sand – an alternative to sand made from finely crushed recycled glass – is being used on Cross River Rail as pipe embedment and bedding material under pavements.

This award-winning innovation is a first for South East Queensland, helping divert more glass from landfills and reducing the need to use quarried sand.

Spoil and waste re-use

Around 1.6 million cubic metres of spoil is expected to be generated throughout Cross River Rail’s construction, more than 80% of which has either been reused or is being stockpiled for future reuse.

One of the fascinating uses for the spoil has come through a unique partnership with brick manufacturer Austral Bricks, who uses the material to make bricks.

Austral Bricks will use Cross River Rail spoil to make around 120 million bricks a year for the next seven years – in fact, roughly half of the brick houses built in South East Queensland will contain the spoil over the next few years.

Lower carbon concrete

Waste materials such as fly ash and slag are being used as a cement alternative in concrete across the project.

In some cases, as much as 60% of cement in concrete mixes can be substituted for waste materials, which plays a huge role in lowering Cross River Rail’s carbon footprint – especially considering the amount of concrete used by the project.

Composite sleepers

Another exciting Cross River Rail sustainability innovation is a trial of composite plastic sleepers.

A lower carbon alternative to traditional concrete or timber sleepers, two types of composite sleepers will be trialled at the Mayne Yard stabling facility in 2023.

If the trial is successful, there is a view of using these sleepers more widely on Queensland’s rail network.

Source: © Cross River Rail Delivery Authority 2021

Image Source: © Cross River Rail Delivery Authority 2021

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