Geotechnical and site investigations have begun on Melbourne’s Hurstbridge line, after the Andrews Government announced a $140 million project to duplicate and upgrade the line last month.
A contract to deliver the upgrade will be awarded in 2017, with the state’s Level Crossing Removal Authority handling the delivery of the project.
The Hurstbridge line upgrade includes the duplication of the single-track between Heidelberg and Rosanna, part of the Metro Trains Melbourne network.
Duplication will include the construction of a second tunnel to run alongside an existing one. The winning contractor will also have to install associated power and signalling along the new track.
The project also includes the removal of the Lower Plenty Road level crossing in Rosanna, the construction of a new railway station at Rosanna, and the removal of the Grange Road level crossing in Alphington.
Funding for the project was detailed in the forward estimates in the 2016/17 state budget.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the work would remove a major bottleneck from the Melbourne public transport network.
“This notorious single section of track needs duplicating for passengers in the north east to have the frequent and reliable services they deserve,” he said.
“Removing this notorious bottleneck means we can run more trains in peak hour when we need them most.”
Early works, which kicked off on Tuesday, involve drilling 100mm holes up to 25 metres deep along the planned project route.
The geotechnical investigations are aimed to provide information about ground conditions at the site, which will inform the design of the project, and how it is delivered.
As part of this project, the Level Crossing Removal Authority is also investigating the potential duplication of another section of track, further up the line, between Greensborough and Eltham.
Melbourne’s Hurstbridge line originates at Flinders St station, then shares track with the South Morang line until it forks off at Clifton Hill station.
The section of single-track being duplicated in this project is just 1.2 kilometres long; the other single-track section on the line (being investigated) is 15 kilometres in length, but includes passing opportunities, and is farther from the CBD.