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The Victorian Government is getting ready to remove its 50th dangerous and congested level crossing, with number 50 set to be removed by the end of 2021, a year ahead of schedule.
Before the year’s end, a further 10 level crossings will be a thing of the past on the city’s train network, smashing the Government’s goal of removing 50 level crossings by 2022.
The level crossings at South Gippsland Highway, Dandenong South; Ferguson Street, Williamstown; Manchester Road, Mooroolbark; Maroondah Highway, Lilydale; Edithvale Road and Lochiel Avenue, Edithvale; Chelsea Road and Swanpool Avenue, Chelsea and Bondi Road, Bonbeach, will all be removed by the end of 2021.
Victoria is getting rid of 75 level crossings by 2025 – with one being removed on average every four weeks in 2021.
These level crossing removals will bust congestion, boost safety and deliver better stations for passengers, with a new station to be built as part of the level crossing removal at Bondi Road – with the 50th removal expected to be on the Frankston line.
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said,“The countdown is on to reach this incredible milestone, with these congestion-busting and safety-boosting projects bringing huge benefits for people all across our city.
“The team has done an outstanding job removing 46 level crossings to date and we’re thrilled to remove 50 level crossings by the end of 2021 – one year earlier than we promised.”
In just over three months, five level crossings will be removed and three new stations will be built in one go at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach – an unprecedented timeframe for one of the biggest ventures undertaken by the Level Crossing Removal Project.
These removals were combined and then fast-tracked to be gone by 2021, with work including lowering three sections of the Frankston line into trenches, creating new road connections above to replace the existing level crossings and building three modern and accessible train stations that reflect the area’s bayside atmosphere.
To achieve these removals, there will be unavoidable disruption to train services and roads during 2021, as works ramp up across the network.
This work will cause disruption to train services and roads for around two months and access to the three stations for around three months – completing the work at the same time helps maintain access for road, rail and pedestrians for the longest time possible and will ensure stations are closed for four weeks less than originally planned.
Victoria Acting Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Ben Carroll, said, “We know the coming months will be disruptive and inconvenient for train passengers, road users and the local community as our teams work to remove these level crossings and we thank people for their patience while this important work is underway.”
Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach stations will close for around three months from 25 July 2021 until November 2021, while the new stations are built.
Buses will replace trains between Mordialloc, Frankston and Stony Point during an initial one-week rail closure from 25 July 2021, until 2 August 2021.
Trains will run express through the stations for six weeks, until a further two month line closure and construction blitz where major works will take place from 13 September 2021, until the new stations open and the level crossings are gone in November 2021.
Local roads will be closed for about two months from July to October 2021 and commuters should prepare for major disruptions at several connections across the line including at Edithvale Road, Argyle Avenue and Bondi Road.
The $3 billion investment in the Frankston line means 12 new stations built and 18 level crossings removed.
Another new station is being built and two level crossings removed further north at Glen Huntly by 2024 – making the Frankston line level crossing free between Flinders Street and Moorabbin Station.
Member for Mordialloc, Tim Richardson, said, “Removing these dangerous and congested level crossings and building three new stations will improve train services and cut commute times for rail passengers, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians – in the process making Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach even better places to live.”
On the Belgrave/Lilydale Line, buses will replace trains from 10 September to 25 October 2021, while major works are carried out to remove the level crossings at Manchester Road and Maroondah Highway and new stations are built at Mooroolbark and Lilydale.
Once these works are complete, the new stations at Mooroolbark and Lilydale will be open to passengers and the level crossings at Manchester Road and Maroondah Highway will be gone.
Crews are gearing up for a road closure from 16 July to 6 August 2021 for the South Gippsland Hwy, South Dandenong level crossing removal.
Following these works, road users will begin travelling across the new road bridge, with boom gates that interrupt traffic to become a distant memory.
Passengers are also reminded of changes to train services on the Williamstown Line, with buses replacing trains between Newport and Williamstown from 20 August until 13 November 2021, whilst the level crossing removal is completed at Ferguson Street.
Since 2016, the Victorian Government has removed 46 level crossings and built 26 new and upgraded stations.
Passengers and road users can find out if they’re affected by the works and plan their journey here.
This article first appeared on infrastructuremagazine.com.au
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