Engineering, Passenger Rail

Level crossing removal work ramping up in Essendon and Noble Park

Early preparatory works are now underway for the eventual removal of a level crossing on Buckley Street in Essendon, while three more crossings in Noble Park will be gone by the middle of February, with works ramping up there at the end of this month.

At Buckley Street in the coming weeks, underground utilities will be relocated, and vegetation removed as work sites are established for the $114 million removal project, which will eventually see the removal of the crossing and the construction of a new road underpass under the rail line.

Reportedly one of the Melbourne’s worst, the Buckley Street level crossing causes significant traffic congestion and delays for the 11,000 drivers that use it every day, with boom gates down for approximately 78 minutes during the two-hour morning peak.

Labor member for Essendon, Danny Pearson, said the beginning of construction work was “exciting” for the area, as the project would make road and rail travel “smoother” for commuters, while leaving the “iconic” Essendon Station intact.

Over the past 18 months the Level Crossing Removal Authority has reportedly consulted with the community, transport providers, businesses and other stakeholders to refine the design, which features new accessible ramps under the station entrance canopies, pedestrian signals to boost safety and streetscaping work on Rose and Russell streets, as well as new cycling facilities.

“I want to thank my local community for their work on this project – these conversations will continue as the work progresses,” Pearson said.

Major removal works will commence on the crossing in mid to late 2018, while the whole project is expected to complete by 2019.

At Noble Park, preparations are being made for the removal of the level crossings at Corrigan Road, Heatherton Road and Chandler Road, where boom gates will go down for the last time on 29 January.

From 30 January until 14 February, buses will replace trains between Westall and Dandenong, as works are undertaken to remove the level crossings, install overhead wiring, lay communications cable and connect the new elevated train tracks to the existing ones.

“A lot of people have worked very hard on this project, and it is great to see the first phase of level crossing removals coming to fruition,” acting project manager Zeljko Dobrilovic said.

“There is a high level of anticipation among the locals at Noble Park for the benefits this project will bring to the area, not only in relation to safety and congestion, but in opening up more civic spaces and reconnecting north and south sides of the line.”

Once the works are complete, trains will stop at Noble Park’s new elevated station for the first time.

“We thank commuters for their patience while we get this work done – we’re ahead of schedule and the end result will be worth it,” acting transport minister Luke Donnellan said.

“This massive project is creating thousands of jobs here in Melbourne’s south east, and will allow us to run more trains, more often on the city’s busiest train line.”