Four dangerous and congested level crossings in Preston, Victoria will be permanently gone by the end of 2022 as early works commence to remove the Bell Street, Cramer Street, Murray Road and Oakover Road level crossings.
Approximately 82,000 vehicles pass through these level crossings daily and Bell Street in particular is the busiest, catering to about 52,000 vehicles a day, and the boom gates are down for up to 40 per cent during the morning peak.
To remove the four level crossings, a two-kilometre rail bridge is going to be built with an innovative U-Trough design. The project will also deliver two new stations at Bell and Preston as well as straighten a section of the rail track to get more trains to travel more often along the Mernda line. This design will not only allow faster services, it will also decrease the number of properties to be acquired for the project.
“Another four level crossings are being removed so we can run more trains more often, with work to begin next year.
“This project will deliver new stations, faster services and less congestion on local streets - as well as new, green open space for the community,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The project team will be contacting residents and property owners and will be working closely with them throughout the land acquisition process. On previous project, Level Crossing Removal Project used a Voluntary Purchase Scheme and will be utilising the same scheme to identify eligible properties for the Preston level crossing removal project.
For this project, the Mernda line will only be closed for a short time to minimise service disruptions as it also provides access to the Epping train maintenance facility - which services about half of Melbourne’s train fleet.
Another round of community consultations will commence soon and locals are encouraged to provide feedback on what they want to see in the new open space. A community advisory panel will also be established which will allow local to contribute directly to the design of the two-kilometre open space delivered through the construction of the rail bridge.
“While we get in and remove the level crossing, we’ll also build two new stations and work with the community on the two kilometres of open space they will get to enjoy,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said.
The four Preston level crossings are going to be permanently gone by 2022, and the new open space will be ready for public use by 2023.
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