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Peak-hour commuters, football fans and people enjoying the school holidays will be among those feeling the pain as a statewide public transport construction blitz disrupts nine train lines across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Public transport users have been told to allow an additional hour to get to their destination throughout April, with widespread intermittent closures.
About 1.5 million passengers will use the network during the blitz, with 600 replacement buses called into service.
Six metropolitan lines will partially close, with the south-eastern suburbs getting hit particularly hard.
In the city's north, buses will replace trains between Thornbury and Epping on the Mernda line from April 4 to April 9.
Commuters on three of Melbourne's busiest lines — Frankston, Cranbourne and Pakenham — will endure almost three weeks of disruptions, with buses replacing trains between Flinders Street and Caulfield from April 6 to April 23.
Other sections of these lines will also be closed at various times, including the Easter long weekend.
Also in the city's south-east, buses will replace trains on the Glen Waverley line between Burnley and Darling for one weekend only, from April 13-14.
In bayside Melbourne, commuters on the Sandringham line will also need to take replacement buses on several weekends in April, including the Easter long weekend.
What should I do?Thousands of people are expected to attend events in the city, including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Easter Monday AFL match between Geelong and Hawthorn.
The message for commuters is to check your local line changes on the PTV website before you travel and plan ahead.
Limited information about the changes was available through its app, but PTV said users could find details on their line by using the journey planner tool and checking the disruptions tab.
"There's much more detail available on the website," Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said.
"In addition we've got people out across the network who are helping passengers navigate their way around, people at bus stops, people at train stations, directing people to where they need to go."
More than 600 buses will be replacing train services through a mix of express, limited express and stopping-all-stations services.
A Disruption Management Centre will also be created, so VicRoads traffic controllers can adjust traffic signals in real time to help keep buses moving.
With some commuters expected to turn to their cars to get around, VicRoads is warning of delays on the Monash Freeway, Nepean Highway and Princes Highway during the construction blitz.
The advice is to avoid peak hours and consider alternative routes.
If you're affected, talk to your boss. The Victorian Government is advising businesses to be flexible with workers affected by the disruptions by adjusting start and finish times to avoid peak periods, and by allowing them to work from home.
Why is this happening?Public Transport Victoria chief executive Jeroen Weimar said the works were important for the future of Melbourne's public transport network.
"During the April construction blitz we'll be getting on with building the Metro Tunnel, preparing for the introduction of Melbourne's new trains, removing level crossings and upgrading a number of train lines around regional Victoria," Mr Weimar said.
Metro Tunnel works will include the construction of the eastern entrance of the tunnel at South Yarra, while signal upgrades between Caulfield and Flinders Street will prepare the network for new high-capacity trains which will enter service from mid-2019.
Other key projects include level crossing removals at Reservoir and Carrum.
What about the footy?Footy fans travelling on the Cranbourne, Pakenham, Frankston and Sandringham lines who usually get off at Richmond Station should allow extra time to get to the MCG.
Replacement bus services will be dropping them at Flinders Street, where they'll have to swap over to a tram or walk to get to the ground.
The free tram zone will be extended to the MCG during this period.
Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) spokesman Bradley Green said the MCG would attempt to open up as many car parks as possible during this period, to allow for some fans to drive to games.
"The MCG will endeavour to open the car park as often as possible, to cater on those days. We advise fans to check the PTV and Metro websites on match days, to plan their schedule."
The Sandringham line and Geelong V/line service will reopen for the Easter Monday clash at the MCG.
What about regional trains?V/Line services on the Gippsland, Geelong and Warrnambool lines will also be impacted, while various track, signal and structure maintenance and upgrade work is completed.
Buses will replace trains between Southern Cross, and Traralgon and Bairnsdale from April 6 to April 23, and travel on these replacement bus services will be free.
Trains between Southern Cross and Geelong will also be replaced with buses between April 16 and April 21.
Buses will also replace trains on various sections of the Warrnambool line between April 6 and April 21
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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