Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (18:48): My adjournment matter is directed to the Honourable Jacinta Allan, Minister for Transport Infrastructure and Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop. This adjournment matter relates to the portfolio responsibilities of transport infrastructure. The Level Crossing Removal Project was established by the Victorian government to oversee one of the largest rail infrastructure projects in the state’s history, with the main aim of eliminating 75 dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne by 2025. In addition to crossing removals, the project also oversees other rail network upgrades, such as new train stations, track duplication and train stabling yards. With 45 level crossings already removed, the government is ahead of schedule on its commitment to remove 50 crossings by 2022 and 75 by 2025.
Some of the core benefits of removing a level crossing are improving safety for road users and pedestrians; reducing congestion by eliminating frustrating delays caused by boom gates and allowing more vehicles to pass through; improving travel time and reliability by removing uncertainty around when boom gate closures will occur and how long they will be down for; increasing capacity to run more trains on the network without boom gates delaying vehicles and other users; and creating thousands of jobs during construction. There are also other opportunities to add value for the community and commuters, depending on the chosen design and its site, such as creating new open space, building new shared-use walking and cycling paths or commissioning public artwork.
As part of this Victorian government’s commitment, major construction is well underway along the Werribee rail line. The Werribee Street, Werribee, level crossing was removed in late January 2021, with a new rail bridge built over Werribee Street.
Construction works are continuing at Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing, and Cherry Street, Werribee, for the removal of the level crossing. The level crossing at Cherry Street, Werribee, is being removed by building a road bridge over the rail line connecting Tarneit Road and Princes Highway. A well-lit underpass is also being built which will safely connect pedestrians and cyclists to homes and local shops on both sides of the rail line. As part of the project the intersections at Wattle Avenue and Princes Highway, and Tarneit Road and Railway Avenue will also be upgraded. Removing the level crossing will improve safety, increase connection on both sides of the rail line and provide more consistent travel times. The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with an update on the progress of construction works at Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing.
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan Region for her question and her continued advocacy for her electorate.
The dangerous and congested level crossing at Old Geelong Road in Hoppers Crossing will be removed by building a new road bridge over the rail line, creating a direct link to Princes Highway to the east. The existing crossing will be closed to traffic, making way for improved community spaces and new landscaped areas. A new elevated pedestrian and cyclist overpass will also be built at the site of the existing level crossing, which will create safer access to Hoppers Crossing Station.
Major construction has begun and works on building the road bridge and overpass are progressing well. Throughout April, the new road bridge will continue to take shape and work crews will continue earthworks, install retaining walls for the ramps, and construct concrete columns for the road bridge. Crews will also work to install the steel structure as part of the construction of the new pedestrian and cyclist overpass.
When the level crossing is removed in 2022, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will experience a safer, more reliable, and consistent journey travelling through Hoppers Crossing. Removing this level crossing will improve safety, provide more reliable travel times, and significantly reduce congestion for the 18,000 motorists that travel through this area every day.