Victorian premier David Andrews’ campaign to destroy 50 level crossings has officially claimed its first scalp, with train services resuming under the former Burke Road crossing in Glen Iris on Monday.
A consortium of John Holland and KBR removed the Burke Road level crossing as part of a four-crossing contract, the first awarded under the Andrews Government’s removal program in May last year.
After workers ceremoniously removed the level crossing’s boom gates and fully re-opened the road to cars and trams last week, the newly-rebuilt Gardiner Station served its first train on Monday, on tracks which have been sunk below road level.
The Burke Road crossing was listed by the RACV among Melbourne’s top 10 congestion hot spots every year since 2006, with more than 25,000 vehicles, 150 trains and 180 trams passing through the intersection every day, and the boom gates closed for up to 40 minutes between 7am and 9am each day, causing queues onto the Monash Freeway.
“Motorists, passengers and locals have had to live with these boom gates for too long,” Andrews said. “They caused congestion, they put lives at risk, and now we’ve removed them.”
Acting transport minister Luke Donnellan said the new train stations showed the program wasn’t just about removing level crossings.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s removal of 50 dangerous and congested level crossings is not only improving safety and reducing congestion on our roads, it’s transforming train stations across Melbourne,” Donnellan said.
“The new Gardiner Station is safer, more accessible and better connected for the 1500 people who use it every day.
“It’s the first of many stations we will rebuild through the Level Crossing Removal Program, which will reduce congestion, create space to run more trains, and make local streets safer.”