Friday 10th Jul, 2020

Elevated rail to remove four Preston crossings

Early works will begin next year towards the removal of four level crossings and construction of two new stations in Preston, the Victorian government has said.

Two new stations will be built, along with a two-kilometre stretch of elevated rail to remove four dangerous and congested level crossings, with a targeted completion of 2022. The work will remove crossings at Bell Street, Cramer Street, Murray Road and Oakaver Road.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrew said around 82,000 vehicles go through the four crossings each day, with Bell Street the busiest at around 52,000 per day.

“Another four level crossings are being removed so we can run more trains more often, with work to begin next year,” the premier said. “This project will deliver new stations, faster services and less congestion on local streets – as well as new, green open space for the community.”

Andrews said detailed planning and engineering had determined the best way to deliver the work was to elevate that section of the Mernda line and use an innovative U-Trough design. The work will also straighten the track at Bell and Preston stations, to allow for greater capacity.

The work will also mean a small number of property acquisitions.

The government said the project team is contacting owners and residents and will work closely with them throughout the process. A Voluntary Purchase Scheme has been used on previous projects, and the same principles will be applied on the Preston project to identify any eligible homes, the state said.

The government noted the project needs to be delivered with minimal disruption to the Mernda line, as it provides access to the Epping train maintenance facility, which services about half of Melbourne’s train fleet.

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. In addition, a community advisory panel will be established to enable locals to directly contribute to the design of the two kilometres of new open space created by elevating the line.

“While we get in and remove the level crossings, we’ll also build two new stations and work with the community on the two kilometres of open space they will get to enjoy,” transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan said.

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