Melbourne’s South Gippsland Highway level crossing removed

Vehicles drive on the newly opened road bridge at South Gippsland Highway. Image courtesy of Victoria Government.

Melbourne’s South Gippsland Highway level crossing in Dandenong South, part of the Victorian Government’s plan to remove 85 level crossings by 2025, has been removed for good.

The $98 million level crossing removal contract was awarded to a joint venture between Fulton Hogan and Metro Trains Melbourne in early 2020. Construction involved building a new road bridge over the rail line and creating a green space at the site of the former intersection of South Gippsland Highway and Princes Highway.

The newly opened road bridge was used by vehicles for the first time on Tuesday, following a 19 day construction blitz, boosting safety for one of Melbourne’s busiest manufacturing routes.

Crews worked around the clock since Friday 16 July to connect the new road bridge with the South Gippsland Highway and the new Princes Highway intersection.

In that time, they laid 3500 tonnes of asphalt, 500 metres of kerbside guttering and planted 45 trees to finalise the 11th level crossing removal on the Pakenham line.

The level crossing removal will help reduce congestion in Melbourne’s south-east, home to about 40 per cent of the city’s manufacturing industry, which supports 92,000 jobs and $12 billion in economic activity.

Before construction, 31,000 drivers used the South Gippsland Highway level crossing each day, with the boom gates previously holding up traffic for 31 per cent of the morning peak.

The former South Gippsland Highway and Princes Highway intersection was the site of one fatal incident and four crashes resulting in serious injury during the past 10 years. The level crossing nearby was the site of four collisions and more than 40 near misses between 2005 and 2015.

As well as improving traffic flow, getting rid of this level crossing will also allow for more trains to run on the Pakenham line in the future, bringing the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines one step closer being level crossing free by 2025, and creating capacity for an extra 121,000 passengers.

It is part of the Victorian Government’s massive investment in Melbourne’s south-east, including the Metro Tunnel Project and Cranbourne Line Upgrade and will ensure the removal of 50 of Melbourne’s most congested and dangerous level crossings will be achieved 12 months ahead of schedule later this year.

Designs have also been released for the 8000 square metres of green space that will be constructed at the site of the former intersection of South Gippsland Highway and Princes Highway.

It will also include the final section of new footpaths to be constructed as part of the project, connecting the south side of Princes Highway to the new pedestrian paths along the road bridge and intersection.

Work on the green space will start in early 2022 and will be completed in mid 2022.

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