An alliance has been awarded the contract to remove the level crossing on Lower Plenty Road, rebuild Rosanna Station and duplicate the Hurstbridge line in north-east Melbourne, with works expected to start in early 2017.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, announced that the alliance of Laing O’Rourke, Fulton Hogan and Jacobs will deliver the multi-million dollar works that will enable more trains along the Hurstbridge line.

The Lower Plenty Road level crossing is one of Melbourne’s worst, with boom gates down for more than a third of the two-hour morning peak.

“Level crossings and sections of single track are relics of the past. They don’t belong on a modern train network and we’re removing them, to reduce road congestion and run more trains,” Ms Allan said.

The Victorian Government project will build a rail bridge over Lower Plenty Road, removing the crossing, reducing congestion and improving access to the shops and parklands.

The design is the product of extensive engineering, planning and community engagement to find the best way to separate trains from traffic given the incline of the road, nearby creek and surrounding parklands.

The rail bridge will protect train services from disruptions caused by flooding and save hundreds of local trees compared to the rail trench option, which would have been about double the length of the bridge.

Raising or lowering the road over the train line was previously ruled out due to the significant amount of property acquisition required and impact on the local shops, parkland and community.

The project will also build a brand new Rosanna Station next to the crossing and duplicate the single section of track between Heidelberg and Rosanna, creating space for more frequent, reliable services, which will have flow-on benefits for the South Morang line.

The second track will be built to the east of the existing tracks, but will not require any property acquisition. The duplication will include a new tunnel under Darebin Street next to the existing brick tunnel.

These works are part of a $395 million package of works that also includes the removal of the Grange Road level crossing in Alphington.

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