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Trains on the Frankston line have returned to service early, and the new Mentone Station has opened ahead of schedule, with the major construction blitz to remove three dangerous and congested level crossings and build two new stations finishing early.
Trains resumed on the Frankston line this morning, one week earlier than planned, with Mentone Station also opening today, two weeks early.
It’s a major milestone on the project where work has continued with strict safety measures, supporting jobs and businesses through the pandemic.
Cheltenham Station remains on schedule to open mid August. Finishing touches on the stations, landscaping, and work on the 3.5 kilometre walking and cycling path between Cheltenham and Mentone will continue until late 2020.
During the two-month construction blitz to remove three level crossings, more than 200,000 cubic metres of soil was excavated from the 2.1 kilometres of rail trenches which lower the Frankston line under Park and Charman roads in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.
A team of 1,700 workers have worked on the project, with crews working around the clock to pour more than 15,000 cubic metres of concrete, install almost 7,000 tonnes of steel reinforcing, and lay 25,000 tonnes of ballast.
Locals have already seen an improvement in local traffic with the three roads re-opening boom gate free in mid June. Previously, the boom gates at Cheltenham and Mentone could be down for up to 49 minutes in the morning peak – causing delays and frustration for the 38,000 vehicles that cross the rail line each day.
The new modern stations are five-star Green Star design rated and include solar panels, water saving and rainwater collection, and will significantly reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions.
Further along the Frankston line, works are ramping up on the removal of five dangerous and congested level crossings and building three new stations at Edithvale, Chelsea, and Bonbeach with major construction to lower the rail line into a trench starting in 2021.
Works at Cheltenham and Mentone are part of a massive $3 billion investment on the Frankston line, which includes removing 18 level crossings and building 12 new stations.
Across Melbourne, the Victorian Government is removing 75 level crossings by 2025. The Cheltenham and Mentone project means a total of 38 dangerous and congested level crossings are gone for good.
This article first appeared on levelcrossings.vic.gov.au
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