Four dangerous and congested level crossings in Preston, Victoria, will start to be removed in early 2020.
The works will include the construction of two new stations and a 2km stretch of elevated rail.
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, recently confirmed the Victorian Government will build a 2km rail bridge to remove level crossings at Bell Street, Cramer Street, Murray Road and Oakover Road.
“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.
Around 82,000 vehicles go through the level crossings each day. Bell Street is the busiest road with 52,000 vehicles each day and the boom gates down for up to 40 per cent of the morning peak.
Detailed planning and engineering have determined the best way to remove the crossing – given the constraints on this section of the Mernda line – is to elevate the line and use an innovative U-Trough design.
“While we get in and remove the level crossings, we’ll also build two new stations and work with the community on the 2kms of open space they will get to enjoy,” Ms Allan said.
The Level Crossing Removal Project has used a Voluntary Purchase Scheme on previous projects, and the same principles will be applied on the Preston project to identify any eligible homes.
The Mernda line also provides access to the Epping train maintenance facility, which services about half of Melbourne’s train fleet, meaning the line can only be closed for a short period without impacting services across the network.
The next stage of community consultation will start soon, with locals encouraged to have their say on what they want to see in the new open space.
Member for Preston Robin Scott said, “Preston residents can’t wait to see work start on this project. I encourage locals to get involved with the community advisory panel in shaping the open space.”
In addition, a community advisory panel will be established to enable locals to directly contribute to the design of the 2kms of new open space created by elevating the line.
The level crossings will be removed by the end of 2022 and the open space ready in 2023.