Major construction work has begun on the new road bridge in Melbourne’s western suburb of Ardeer to remove the Fitzgerald Road level crossing.
Being delivered by an alliance comprising Fulton Hogan, Metro Trains Melbourne and the Level Crossing Removal Project, the project is one of three level crossings being removed along the Geelong and Ballarat lines in Adreer.
A 65-tonne piling rig and a 40-tonne excavator have begun digging the nine-metre-deep foundations for a new road bridge, with the project due for completion in 2023.
The fast-tracked Fitzgerald Road level crossing project will be completed along with the nearby level crossing at Robinson Road. Their removal will then pave way for the Mt Derrimut Road level crossing to be removed by 2024, making the Geelong and Ballarat lines level crossing-free between Deer Park and the city.
The Deer Park and Ardeer level crossings have an alarming safety record. The boom gates can be down for up to 45 per cent of the morning peak when up to 37 trains run through the crossings, causing delays and frustration for around 53,000 passenger and freight vehicles that travel through the level crossings in the area each day.
In total, the Victorian Government is investing more than $20 billion in Melbourne’s western suburbs for essential road and rail upgrades as part of Victoria’s Big Build. The undertaking of level crossing removals in the west builds on the $1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade, the largest-ever single investment in Melbourne’s road network.
Data collected by the Victorian Government shows drivers on Palmers Road are saving 20 minutes during the morning peak, while upgrades to Leakes Road have shaved almost 12 minutes off the travel time for drivers, providing commuters with better access to Tarneit Station.
Victoria Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the upgrades gave locals better connections to schools, jobs and health services.
“It’s great to see work starting on another level crossing removal in the west – when we’re just starting to see the real time benefits of our most recent pipeline of works,” the Minister said.
The Victorian Government is removing 75 level crossings across Melbourne by 2025, with 46 projects completed to date. The 50th cross level crossing is expected to be removed before end of this year.