Locally-made concrete beams support level crossing removal

Locally-made concrete beams have been installed at the Cardinia Road level crossing removal project.

The crossing, located in Pakenham, south-east Melbourne, will be replaced with a road bridge over the rail line.

The 24 beams, locally-made in the regional Victorian town of Kilmore, are up to 32 metres long and weigh up to 60 tonnes each. The beams were trucked to site and installed with cranes.

The Cardinia Road level crossing removal is part of a wider works blitz on the Pakenham line, with work also underway on removing crossings at Clyde Road, Berwick, and South Gippsland Highway, Dandenong.

Once finished the 77,000 vehicles that use the three level crossings will more smoothly move through the area and will not have to wait while boom gates are down for a third of the morning peak. In total, 17 level crossings are being removed on the Pakenham line.

A construction blitz is also about to kick off at Balcombe Road, in Mentone. Boom gates were removed on Friday, May 15 and a five-week road closure begun as part of a nine-week construction period.

The Balcombe Road level crossing removal is part of the largest level crossing construction blitz with 1,700 people working in Cheltenham and Mentone for 64 days.

At the end of the works, three level crossings will be gone, with the rail line lowered and road bridges built above the rail corridor.

Balcombe Road will reopen on Tuesday, June 23, and the new Mentone station opening on Monday, August 3.

Prior to their removal, the boom gates at Balcombe Road were down for 49 minutes in the morning peak, with congestion backing up to the Nepean highway.

Berwick level crossing removal design updated

The level crossing removal at Clyde Road, Berwick has been expanded to include the bus interchange at Berwick station. This extends the current project beyond lowering the road underneath the rail line.

Fulton Hogan and Metro Trains Melbourne will deliver the upgrades, which involves moving the bus interchange to the south side of the station. The new location will make the interchange safer, reduce travel times, and allow for more services to run once it is open.

Roughly 22,000 vehicles use the Clyde Road level crossing every day, with boom gates down for a third of the morning peak.

Construction will begin with site establishment works, which include a site compound, fencing, and offices, which will allow major construction works to start. The Level Crossing Removal Project expects works to be completed in 2022.

A key benefit of the project is enabling constant access for emergency services vehicles, which currently have to wait at the level crossing when the boom gates are down.

With the new design, access to Jane Street and Reserve Street will be maintained, and a new U-turn north of Gibb Street will be installed.

The changes were based on community feedback, and are designed to benefit residents and businesses, as well as emergency services.

In January, the City of Casey urged the Victorian state government to improve the amenity of the crossing with wider footpaths, landscaping, and lighting.

“This project also provides a once-off opportunity to transform the Berwick Railway Station, one of Melbourne’s busiest, ageing and out-of-date stations,” said City of Casey Mayor Susan Serey.