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A plan to run Melbourne’s new airport train on an elevated “sky rail” in Melbourne’s northwest has angered residents who say they will fight the design.
Community leaders in Albion and Sunshine say they weren’t consulted about a flyover that will take trains 50m above the ground over Albion station and across Ballarat Rd.
The Airport Rail Link is to begin construction next year and will cost between $8bn and $13bn.
Federal and state governments have pledged $10bn.
But residents near to Albion station and in Sunshine want the governments to consider running the line, which they support, at ground level or underground to enable infrastructure upgrades in the area.
An artist’s impression of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link sky rail.
Albion and Ardeer Community Club president Neil Head said people were “angry about the lost opportunity”.
“They plan to fight this all the way,” he said.
The plan is for Melbourne Airport Rail services to bypass Albion station. But tunnelling or ground-level options would be far more expensive and disruptive to surrounding roads.
Greater Sunshine Community Alliance spokesman Stephen Torsi said residents had not been notified or asked to provide feedback on the flyover and were “neglected” in the decision making process.
“When we first saw the artist impression we were horrified,” he said.
“(People) are angry they haven’t been consulted on this or their preferred vision for their community.”
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the community had been engaged this year and would have another chance to have their say.
Residents near Albion station and in neighbouring Sunshine are opposed to the proposed Airport Rail Link overpass. Picture: Jason Edwards
“Building the short flyover at Albion is the best way to minimise impacts to existing infrastructure, reduce disruption to road and rail users during construction, and provide reliable travel times for airport rail services,” she said.
“We’re delivering over $20bn in road and rail upgrades in the west — and Melbourne Airport Rail alongside the Metro Tunnel Project will see Footscray and Sunshine stations both become transport superhubs, meaning more trains for the west.”
Mr Torsi said locals opposed the bridge because it contradicted Brimbank council’s Sunshine Priority Precinct Vision 2050, which prioritised upgrading Albion station.
Mr Head said the community was concerned the planned overpass would threaten development and investment in the precinct below, including the heritage listed John Darling and Son flour mill.
“It will be there forever, it’s really important we get it right now,” Mr Head said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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