Brisbane’s second gateway bridge today welcomed its first visitor – the official Google Maps car.

Part of the $2.5-billion upgrade will open to vehicles later this month with all six lanes to be in operation by December.

Siobhan Hegarty reports.

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Although not officially open yet millions of people around the world will be able to get a first hand view of the new bridge thanks to Street View.

The duplicate bridge comes with 20 kilometres of motorway upgrades north and south of the Brisbane River.

The Premier says in full swing the upgrade will slash congestion.

Anna Bligh, Premier: “With two bridges it’ll actually be easier to travel and it’ll take 25 minutes off travel time.”

Like the original Gateway – it’s a toll bridge – with the fee for a small vehicle priced at $2.95 rising to $3.85 on July 1.

Both structures will be renamed the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges and in full operation carry up to 200,000 vehicles a day.

The upgrade will cater to double the capacity of the current Gateway Bridge, but concerns are being raised over how it will connect to smaller networks either side of the river.

John Wikman, RACQ Traffic and Safety Executive Manager: “Particularly on the Northern side around Nudgee where it basically funnels down into two lanes.”

The RACQ says between registration, the price of licenses and the scrapped fuel subsidy, drivers are already paying enough.

John Wikman, RACQ Traffic and Safety Executive Manager: “Redirect some of that money, more of that money back into road funding so that they don’t have to pay for tolls.”

Tens of thousands of Queenslanders walked the original Gateway Bridge on its opening 24 years ago.

Similar crowds are expected this Sunday for the community day launch of the new structure.

Siobhan Hegarty, QUT News

The Gateway Bridge on Google Maps

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The Gateway Bridge on Google Street View

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