WORK will start on removing the level crossing on Main Road in St Albans on Sunday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Australian Government’s commitment of $151 million towards the project will help reduce traffic and travel times and increase safety in the area.
“The Australian Government’s $4.8 billion commitment to developing and improving transport infrastructure in Victoria will benefit the State’s ongoing economic and social development and boost transport productivity and efficiency,” Mr Truss said.
Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the works would remove this deadly and congested bottleneck in St Albans.
“Main Road level crossing has had two fatalities and continues to put lives at risk. It also creates local congestion, holding up motorists, cyclists and pedestrians for hours every day,” Mr Donnellan said.
“These relics of the past need to go, and we’re getting on with it. It’s great news that works on this congested death-trap in St Albans will begin in a matter of days.”
Senator for Victoria Scott Ryan said the project will grade separate the level crossing at Main Road in St Albans.
“Main Road is a major arterial passageway that connects the Western Ring Road at Sunshine North and Station Road at Albanvale, and the rail line through St Albans plays a crucial role in connecting Melbourne with Sunbury, Bendigo, Swan Hill and Echuca,” Senator Ryan said.
“During peak periods the existing boom gates are closed for up to 18 minutes each hour with vehicles queuing up to 400 metres either side of the level crossing. This project will remove the need for vehicles and pedestrians to stop at the level crossing by running the trains under Main Road – a major improvement for both rail and road users in Melbourne’s northwest.”
The Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman said almost 20,000 vehicles travelled through the Main Road level crossing each day.
“It’s vital that we remove this congested bottleneck so we can improve traffic flow and business activity in the St Albans area.”
The $222.9 million upgrade is jointly funded with the Australian Government committing $151 million and the Victorian Government $71.9 million. Construction on the project is expected to finish in late 2016.