New rail bridge in Melbourne almost completed

The Level Crossings Removal Project team has installed major L-beams that make up a new rail bridge, with 60 per cent of the bridge now complete.

The Toorak Road level crossing in Kooyong will be removed six months ahead of schedule by April this year.

Over the past few weeks, the team at the Toorak Road level crossing removal project have been installing 24 of the 40 L-beams that make up the new rail bridge.

The largest beams spanning Toorak Road are 31 metres long and weigh 128 tonnes.

The beams are lifted into place by two cranes weighing up to 550 tonnes and then stitched together to create the U-trough, which the trains will travel on.

Each beam is made in Kilmore, Victoria and delivered overnight 87km to Toorak Road.

Project director Steve Brown told the Herald Sun the rail bridge was taking shape at record pace.

“We’ve installed more than half of it in under a week, and the project is on track to be finished six months ahead of schedule,” he said to the Herald Sun.

Services on sections of the Glen Waverley line throughout March will not run and be replaced by buses, due to works at Toorak Road, Kooyong.

Following ongoing level crossing removals across Melbourne, Hurstbridge Station located in the city’s north-east has started construction on the $2.8 million project to upgrade commuter car parks.

Ace Infrastructure will build the government funded project which will include new and upgraded car park spaces along Graysharps Road west of Hurstbridge Station.

Other improvements coming up on the Hurstbridge line include a new station at Greensborough and the duplication of three kilometres of track between Greensborough and Eltham, and 1.5 kilometres between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

Melburnians face a city- wide construction blitz this autumn, including major shutdowns of the Frankston and Upfield lines.

Toorak level crossing removed ahead of schedule

The Level Crossings Removal Project estimates that the Toorak Road level crossing will be removed six months ahead of schedule.

A revised completion date of April will see the new rail bridge operational, with cars travelling underneath.

Work currently being completed includes the installation of 18 concrete columns to support the new rail bridge. During February and March, U-troughs will be installed which will form the rail bridge. 20 of the structures will be installed along with retaining walls in Tooronga Park and Talbot Crescent.

While works and being undertaken, the rail line will be closed during the next months. These will be scheduled during off-peak periods.

In early 2021, 23,000 trees, plants, and grasses will be plated to finish the project.

Other projects currently underway as part of the Level Crossings Removal Project include site investigations for upgrades to the Hurstbridge Line. Surveys and investigations have occurred in Greensborough, Montmorency, and Diamond Creek.

As part of the Level Crossings Removal Project, the Victorian government plans to duplicate the rail line between Greensborough and Montmorency, and between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen. Work will also be undertaken at Greensborough and Montmorency stations.

Train stabling at Victoria Park will also be upgraded and power and signalling will be improved along parts of the Hurstbridge Line. Submissions on changes to the Planning Scheme Amendment which will enable the project are now open.


Rail bridge replaced within five days in Sydney

An old rail bridge was demolished and a new one installed within five days at Castlereagh St. in the suburb of Penrith in Sydney’s west.

The work was carried out within five days, according to NSW’s state minister for transport and roads Andrew Constance, who said crews worked around the clock to reopen Castlereagh Road by New Year’s Eve.

“Crews worked hard to carefully take out the old bridge, which included removing rail tracks and signals, sections of the existing embankments and the old bridge supports.

Around 200 workers were part of the crew to replace the old rail bridge with the new one.

Concrete and steel, weighing up to 5000 tonnes, was removed to allow crews to rebuild embankments and install rail tracks and signals.

The new reinforced concrete rail bridge is almost 40 metres long and weighs around 2800 tonnes and will enable crews to widen the road.

Once complete in late 2020, the Mulgoa Road/Castlereagh Road upgrade will provide increased road capacity for expected future growth in the Penrith region.

According to Constance, specialist equipment from Belgium made the rail bridge installation process easier, essentially allowing the new bridge to slide into place.

Parramatta Light Rail construction ramps up

The Parramatta community will soon see major construction work commence towards the Parramatta Light Rail. Fencing and hoardings are to be installed along the future route from January 2020, and construction sites established, according to NSW government member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee.

From February 2020, Church Street between Macquarie and Market Streets will become a pedestrian only zone, with mobile work sites established for utility relocation work. From June 2020, major work will commence.

Major work will include the building of light rail bridges, pouring of 60,000 tonnes of concrete, and moving more than 215,000 tonnes of earth in Greater Parramatta.

Work will begin once the single-track T6 Carlingford Line has been closed for conversion to the dual-track light rail. The Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia and is set to open in 2023.

Early and enabling works, including site investigation work, took place in 2019, in preparation for major construction. More than 1000 underground site investigations have taken place so far, in order to identify known utility services, such as water, gas, telecommunications and electricity, under the light rail route.

“The community will start to see work ramping up with fencing and hoardings installed along the future light rail route, and construction sites established,” Lee said.

“We know these works will involve some disruption and it’s not going to be easy. It’s our priority to manage the project carefully and minimise the impacts of construction on businesses and the community.”

“Transport for NSW has spent more than three years carefully planning and undertaking detailed investigations to reduce the risk of encountering unknown underground utilities, heritage finds and contamination.”

Lee has said that if, during construction, unknown utilities or heritage items are encountered, there is a “robust process in place to allow effective preservation or localised removal on site”.

Rail bridge design plans complete

The initial designs have been completed for a steel truss bridge to support a second train track over Eumemmerring Creek in Dandenong South.

The proposed design would see no foundations or pillars dug into the waterway, and no modifications made to the existing single-track bridge at Eumemmerring Creek.

The bridge is designed to be assembled on site, with many parts to be prefabricated at an off-site location, reducing the time and space needed for construction. The new, duplicated bridge will be constructed to the west side of the current bridge and measure 65 metres in length.

Works at Eumemmerring Creek will start in 2020, as part of the Cranbourne Line Upgrade which involves eight kilometres of new track lain next to the existing line in order to enable more reliable and frequent trains.

Other line upgrade works in the Dandenong South area include removing the level crossing at Greens Road and duplicating a rail bridge at Abbotts Road.

Protecting the creek’s ecosystem has been a major focus for the team of engineers and designers working through design options for the Eumemmerring Creek site.

According to the Level Crossing Removal Project, expert ecologists and arborists were engaged to identify sensitive plants and animals. The construction team has devised a detailed plan to ensure fauna and fauna are protected during construction.

Queensland rail bridges made stronger

Queensland Rail has announced that its $28 million project to replace 18 timber rail bridges with more durable structures is now complete.

“Over the last two years, Queensland Rail has been eliminating ageing timber rail bridges on the western line – some of which were more than 100 years old – and replacing them with stronger, more reliable, low maintenance steel structures,” said the minister for transport and main roads Mark Bailey.

The work included the replacement of a combined 830 metres of combined bridge length at 18 locations between Rosewood, near Brisband, and Chinchilla, and final works were completed at a bridge at Dalby in late October.

“The new steel structures are set to significantly reduce the time required for bridge maintenance moving forward,” said Bailey.

The structures now use untreated steel girders to serve as a more cost-effective alternative to concrete. Steel was sourced from One Steel and local companies were used for crane hire and labour, according to the government.

“It’s fantastic to see this investment not only bolster the strength of the rail line, but also support the local jobs and businesses along the way.”

The bridges are all along the western line rail network, which is a major freight artery for the Darling Downs and South West Queensland regions, transporting about 7,000 freight and passenger trains each and every year,

“It’s fantastic to see the West Moreton timber bridge replacement project reach the finish line. This major investment has modernised our infrastructure on the line and will ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the West Moreton rail system.”

High Street to close to traffic for Reservoir rail bridge construction

Intersection works on the Reservoir level crossing removal in Melbourne are set to commence next month with a team of roughly 200 workers.

Foundations and columns outside the intersection for the building of a new rail bridge over the crossing are now complete, with the next phase of works set to start from mid-August.

The High Street intersection will be closed to traffic to accommodate the works from August 19 to late December, with workers building two 185 metre-long segments of steel bridge. 

“Trains will continue to operate for most of this time, with alternative access routes in place for road traffic and continued changes in place for pedestrians,” the Victorian Government announced.

“We suggest drivers allow up to an additional 15 minutes to travel the east–west detours at peak or busy times of day.”

North-south journeys and non-peak hour journeys are expected to take less additional time.

The next phase of the Reservoir project will include the construction of the base of the elevated platform above Reservoir Station, which is made up of six steel modules of up to 100 tonnes each in addition to 190 concrete planks.

The first sections of the bridge will also be installed, in addition to up to 10 bridge pieces weighing up to 75 tonnes apiece to be lifted into place by a 350-tonne crane.

Cronulla line to reopen on July 15 following rail bridge works

The Cronulla line in Sydney is set to reopen on Monday July 15 following the completion of works to replace a rail bridge over Gannons Road in Caringbah.

The original bridge, which was built in 1939, was removed and replaced last weekend in one piece with the assistance of a 750-tonne crane, fulfilling a commitment made by state transport minister Andrew Constance and Cronulla MP Mark Speakman in December 2017.

The replacement required more than 20 pieces of heavy machinery and 450 tonnes of pre-cast concrete. The new bridge is designed to provide enough room for the road to expand to two lanes in each direction in keeping with the design of a second bridge on Gannons Road that was constructed in 2010 to support the launch of a new track on the line.

Speakman referred to Gannons Road at the time as a “bottleneck for local traffic” with no room for pedestrians or cyclists on approach to the bridge. The MP said on Twitter that the installation of the new bridge would allow the road underneath to be widened, “greatly improving traffic flow”.

Replacement buses that launched on July 6 between Sutherland and Cronulla to accommodate the closure will now run until Sunday July 14 prior to the line’s reopening the next day.