Engineering, Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

First level crossing removal work begins

Burke Street level crossing removal. Graphic: VicRoads

Work has begun at the first level crossing set to be removed under the Andrews Government’s program, at Burke Road in Glen Iris, Melbourne.

Premier Daniel Andrews and roads minister Luke Donnellan visited the site on Tuesday to announce that major construction has officially started on the Level Crossing Removal Project.

“This is the start of the most important road, rail and community safety projects in Victoria’s history,” Andrews said, “the removal of our most dangerous, deadly and congested level crossings.”

The Burke Road level crossing is said to be one of the worst on the list of those set to go; its boom gates are down for an average of at least 40 minutes for every morning peak (7am to 9am), and more than 26,000 vehicles and 150 trains use the crossing every day.

The RACV has named the intersection in its top 10 for congestion hot spots in Melbourne, every year since 2006. This resulted in many frustrated motorists driving unsafely, and many frustrated pedestrians ignoring barriers and warning signals, to rush to catch their train or tram, the Premier’s office said.

A consortium of John Holland and KBR is in charge of the removal: Burke Road was among four sites the consortium was awarded in May after a competitive tender process – the first such process undertaken by the Andrews Government in its plan to remove 50 level crossings in eight years.

“Victorians have been held hostage by these relics of the past for too long,” Andrews said this week. “They need to go, we’re getting on with it, and major works start today.”

The first work to be undertaken is the demolition of the Gardiner Station car park, and the lowering of the rail line under Burke Road. Gardiner Station will be rebuilt to provide access to platforms below street level.

Andrews said the new station will be safer, more accessible and more user-friendly than the old station, and a new tram super-stop will be built near the entrance, making it easier to transfer between trains and trams.

Donnellan emphasised the project was as much a roads project as it was a rail one.

“Getting rid of [the level crossing] will get motorists, passengers and local residents home safer and sooner,” he said. “Works are ramping up at Burke Road and at other sites across Melbourne as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s plan to unclog our roads, make communities safer and build a bigger, better public transport system.”

Major works on the weekend of July 24 to 26, including the  demolition of station platforms and buildings, will require the closure of the Glen Waverley rail line, with buses replacing trains between Burnley and Darling, the department said.

Buses will also replace the Route 72 tram on Sunday, July 26 and the intersection of Burke Road and Carroll Crescent will be closed from later this month until early next year.