The Premier and Minister for Public Transport this morning announced four more level crossing removals had been funded - Main and Furlong Roads in St. Albans, Blackburn Road in Blackburn and Heatherdale Road in Mitcham.
"These four level crossings will all be removed by 2018, and are part of our $2-2.4 billion commitment in the 2015-2016 Victorian Budget to remove at least 20 of these congested death traps over four years" the Premier said.
Leighton Contractors, Aurecon and Hyder Consulting will be working together to both design and build the four grade separation projects with input from public sector agencies VicRoads, Public Transport Victoria and the operator of the metropolitan rail network, Metro Trains Melbourne.
In a media release distributed on Tuesday morning, the Government has announced the package of works will cost around $480 million including $151 million from the Federal Government. This federal money is reportedly derived from savings made on the Regional Rail Project which began operations on Sunday.
Heatherdale Road, Blackburn Road and Furlong Road projects will be funded by the Victorian Government and the Main Road grade separation project funded by the Regional Rail Link savings.
In terms of rail corridor changes, at all four project sites the rail lines will be lowered under the existing road grade and three stations will be re-built as a consequence: St. Albans, Ginifter and Heatherdale.
Of all four level crossing removal projects which were awarded today, Heatherdale is likely to be the more intriguing from a design perspective. As seen in the google street view above, the existing station is already on a downhill (toward Ringwood) grade and lowering the rail line below the existing road grade will likely require a large amount of excavation to the west of the station in order to smooth out the rail corridor between Mitcham and Heatherdale stations.
As Blackburn Road and Heatherdale Road are completed, the only remaining level crossings between the city and Ringwood will be located at Union Road in Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road in Mont Albert. Given Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Stations are located within a kilometre of each other, Urban Melbourne expects that both of these stations - which have three tracks and platforms like the recently announced Frankston line level crossing removals - would be completed at the same time, whenever they are prioritised by Government. These two level crossings do not feature in the list of 50 grade separation projects.
With the announcement of Main Road and Furlong Road projects today, once complete in 2018, all Sunbury line trains as far as Watergardens will be running on track with no level crossings, thanks to previous removal projects in the region with the most recent being Anderson Road as part of the Regional Rail Link project.
The State Government has also announced that geotechnical investigations have begun in the Dandenong corridor where nine previously announced level crossings are to be removed and four stations are scheduled to be rebuilt.
The Dandenong corridor:
Expressions of interest were being sought in June and an earlier media release from the Minister for Public Transport stated the work was expected to start in 2016 - and today's announcement confirms that - and complete by 2018. Total value, designs and contractors not yet announced.
The Frankston Line:
The Glen Waverley Line:
Contracts for these four level crossing removals were awarded to a consortium which comprises John Holland and KBR. $524 million and complete by 2018.
The Ringwood corridor:
The Sunbury Line
Contracts awarded to an alliance of Leighton Contractors, Aurecon and Hayder Consulting. $480 million. St. Albans projects complete by 2017, Ringwood corridor projects complete by 2018.
Lead image credit: Google Street View.