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Construction work has begun at Hopkins Road in Rockbank, marking the first delivery of upgrades for the Ballarat Line in Victoria.
Planning requirements for the project were approved by the Labor government in September. Once complete, the Ballarat Line will be provided with new extended station platforms, car parking and pedestrian links, train storage facilities, and passing loops.
Works will reportedly enable extra morning and afternoon services, plus a train every 40 minutes in the off-peak period, on stops on the line between Ballarat and Melbourne.
“We are getting on with the Ballarat Line Upgrade, which will deliver more frequent and reliable train services to people in Melbourne’s booming outer western suburbs, Melton, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Ballarat,” state transport minister Jacinta Allan said.
The Hopkins Road works will include building site offices, toilets, storage facilities and access tracks, all of which will allow duplication works for 18 kilometres of track between Deer Park West and Melton to begin.
“These works mark an important milestone for this project, ensuring we are on-track to deliver the Ballarat Line Upgrade by late 2019,” Labor Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard said.
Site investigations are being carried out at Deer Park West and Melton to identify essential utility services along the Ballarat corridor that might need protection during major works for the project.
To protect them from damage during construction, endangered native species such as the spiny rice flowers and large-fruit groundsels will be removed and relocated to a nearby location.
The government expects that the Ballarat upgrades will see the creation of up to 400 jobs during the construction phase, with 10 per cent of the work to be carried out by apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets.
“This project is great for workers and our local economy, and will mean Ballarat commuters get more frequent and reliable services to meet the increased demand,” Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight said.
This article first appeared on www.railexpress.com.au
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