The overall project involves the removal of a total of 85 level crossings across the city by 2025 to improve safety, reduce congestion and create capacity for more trains, more often.
The 50th crossing to be removed was at Bondi Road in Bonbeach. The removal of four more level crossings in the suburbs of Chelsea and Edithvale bring our total to 54 and counting.
A 2,000-strong workforce got rid of five level crossings – including Melbourne’s 50th – by lowering the Frankston line under the local road network and into three rail trenches, each around 1km long and up to 7m deep. The team also built four new road bridges above the trenches at Edithvale Road, Edithvale, Argyle Avenue, Chelsea, Bondi Road, Bonbeach – and the new east-west link across the rail corridor at Thames Promenade, Chelsea.
The state of Victoria sees every project as an opportunity to do more at the same time. Since 2015, the Level Crossing Removal Project has built 31 new train stations, created nearly 14 ‘Melbourne Cricket Grounds’ (MCGs-worth) of new open space, planted more than 1.9 million new plants, shrubs and trees and delivered 40km of shared user paths across the city.
This project was seen as vital because the boom gates at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach had previously been down for up to 40% of the morning peak, causing delays for commuters including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition, more than 40,000 commuters use the Frankston line every day and current network plans to increase the number of trains running on the Frankston line meant the boom gates would be down for even longer without the project. On behalf of the Victorian government, the Level Crossing Removal Project is removing 20 dangerous and congested level crossings and building 13 new stations by 2025 as part of the AU$3bn upgrade of the Frankston line.