Engineering, Passenger Rail

Melbourne’s first skyrail columns in place

The first columns from the Andrews Government’s controversial elevated railway through Melbourne’s south-east have been erected.

Two 6.7-metre concrete piers were lifted into place overnight on January 31. A 350-tonne mobile crane was used.

The work is being undertaken by a consortium of Lend Lease, CPB Contractors, WSP | Parsons Brinkerhoff and Aurecon.

The consortium won the $1.6 billion contract to build the skyrail and remove nine level crossings on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line in April 2016. The project will also see five stations replaced.

“The first piece of this huge project is in place,” public transport minister Jacinta Allan said.

“[It is] the start of a massive construction blitz that will remove nine of our worst level crossings and create space for more trains on Victoria’s busiest line.”

The State Government has had a tough time selling the idea to some local residents, who don’t like the idea of an elevated railway near their homes.

But the state’s Level Crossing Removal Authority has progressed with its skyrail plans, arguing the project will create 22.5 hectares of new public open space for parks, paths and community facilities under the new line.

Once completed, the line will have 350 support columns like the two installed this week.

“Removing these dangerous and congested level crossings will also create local jobs,” Allan said, “2,000 of them – supporting Victorian families and boosting our economy.”