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The sky rail bridge through Melbourne’s southeast has halved maximum travel times for motorists during the morning peak hour rush.
The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal the removal of nine level crossings on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line has significantly freed up key arterial routes in the area, reducing journey times even with more cars on the road.
Boom gates had been stopping traffic for as much as 87 minutes in the two-hour morning peak before the controversial $1.6 billion sky rail project was completed last year.
Travel time data, revealed today (SUNDAY) for the first time, shows motorists crossing Clayton Rd in Clayton have experienced the biggest improvements since the level crossing was removed.
In 2016, it took drivers up to 18 minutes to travel 1.7km southbound between Centre Rd and North Rd, with the boom gates down for up to 75 minutes in the morning.
Despite a 25 per cent increase in traffic, the same trip now takes no more than five minutes for all drivers.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the data showed “significant amounts” had been slashed from maximum journey times for motorists.
“Removing these dangerous and congested level crossings has made a real difference to people’s lives,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“This is about people being able to get to the shops, get to their medical appointments or drive to work without having to worry about a possible 15-minute delay at the boom gates.”
Transport authorities used Bluetooth technology to track vehicle movements on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings in February and March of 2016, and again this year.
While the data reflects maximum journey times, rather than average trip times, the government believes this reflects the improvement in trip reliability after motorists were frustrated by level crossing delays which could unexpectedly add as much as 15 minutes to their commute.
The 2km trip over the Centre Rd level crossing in Clayton — between Westall Rd and Clayton Rd — took up to 12 minutes in 2016 but now motorists are spending no more than six minutes completing the same journey.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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