The boom gates at the Union Road, Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road, Mont Albert are gone for good as the Andrews Labor Government gets on with removing 110 dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne by 2030.
Tragically two women died at Union Road in 2016 after the car they were in was struck by a train at the level crossing and the Government has fast tracked its removal by two years.
Works have now begun to excavate a 1.3-kilometre rail trench and build a new premium Union Station, making travel safer and quicker for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The two sets of boom gates were down for 40 per cent of the morning peak, causing traffic chaos for more than 22,000 vehicles – endangering lives when as many 61 trains passed through every morning peak hour.
With the boom gates gone, 600 workers will be on site at the peak of construction, carrying out crucial work over the next 90 days with the project due to be complete in May.
As well as the massive excavation, work will include carefully dismantling the heritage Mont Albert Station building, which will return to take pride of place in a new open space over the rail line at Hamilton Street.
Crews will also excavate around 200,000 cubic metres of soil to build the rail trench, which is the equivalent of 80 Olympic swimming pools, one of the largest amounts ever removed from a level crossing removal project site.
To allow crews to safely carry out this crucial work, buses will continue to replace trains on sections of the Lilydale Line. Sections of Union and Mont Albert roads will also remain closed.
When this work is completed the new rail trench will carry trains beneath the two roads, there will be a new Union Station with better facilities, more trains and improved pedestrian connections, and work will begin on three new community spaces.
Some 67 level crossings have been removed already and as with all projects a comprehensive trader support program is in place at Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.
Eight level crossings have already been removed on the Belgrave Lilydale Line, with work underway on a further six, which will make the lines level crossing free to Lilydale and Ferntree Gully by 2025 and change the way people live, work and travel.
Trains will return to the line in late May. To find out more about how the works affect your journey and to plan ahead visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au.
Quote attributable to Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“We are celebrating the removal of these boom gates, which had a horrific safety record and posed a significant safety risk to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who used them every day.”
Quote attributable to Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer
“Local drivers and commuters will be pleased that the boom gates at Union Road and Mont Albert Road have gone for good.”
Reviewed 20 February 2023