Final designs have been completed for a 1.3-kilometre rail trench that will make two of Melbourne’s deadliest level crossings a thing of the past, boosting safety and easing congestion for locals.
Work is well underway to remove the dangerous and congested level crossings at Union Road, Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road, Mont Albert, and build a new Union Station that will be staffed from the first train in the morning to the last train in the evening and allow for more services to run.
The new Union Station will include two entrances, stairwells and lifts, cycling and pedestrian connections through the local area, with thousands of plants, shrubs and grass and new play equipment for children.
Community consultation helped shape the final designs, and feedback was taken into account to ensure the look and feel of Union Station and new open space were in line with the heritage of Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.
This included rehoming the Mont Albert Station building close to its original position as part of a new heritage plaza that will be built over the rail corridor, and an additional 450 square metres of open space at Union Road to connect either side of Surrey Hills.
Two locals died when their car collided with a train at the Union Road level crossing in 2016 and there have been eight recorded near misses between the two sites since 2005, with the boom gates down 40 per cent of the morning peak.
As work on the project ramps up, the team is preparing for a construction blitz, including major piling for the walls of the rail trench ahead of its construction early next year, and the start of boring for a new water main and large drainage pipes below the rail corridor at Lorne Parade Reserve.
Crews will continue to relocate and upgrade electrical, water and sewer services at Union and Mont Albert roads as part of the construction blitz.
To ensure work can be carried out safely, there will be rail and road disruptions in July and August, with buses replacing trains between Camberwell and Ringwood from 8.30pm Friday 8 July to 6am Sunday 10 July and between Camberwell and Box Hill from 6am Sunday 10 July to last service Sunday 24 July.
Union Road will close in both directions between Croydon Road and Windsor Crescent from Friday 1 July to Monday 15 August. Meanwhile, Mont Albert Road will close in both directions between Leopold Crescent and Gordon Street from Friday 8 July to Friday 22 July. It will reopen with ongoing lane closures and overnight closures, and a further week-long closure in August.
During winter, works have been scheduled so one of two roads is open most of the time and bus replacements are minimised as much as possible.
Crucially, scheduling this work in July and August will ensure it is completed well before the Christmas trading period, and allows Mont Albert and Union roads to remain open to traffic during this busy time.
Locals are now being asked to provide feedback on aspects of the landscaping and finishing works for the project at engage.vic.gov.au by Sunday 19 June.
Both level crossings will be gone for good in 2023, bringing the Lilydale Line one step closer to being level crossing free by 2025. Four level crossings on the Lilydale line are already gone for good, with planning underway to remove another three in addition to the works at Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.
The Andrews Labor Government is removing 85 level crossings by 2025 – with 60 already gone for good – improving safety and reducing congestion in Melbourne’s suburbs.
To find out if you’re affected and to plan your journey visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“Getting rid of these two dangerous and congested level crossings will make the roads of Surrey Hills and Mont Albert safer and improve travel times and we’d like to thank people for their patience while this important work is underway.”
“Two people were killed at Union Road in 2016 and there has been eight near misses between the two sites, which is why removing these dangerous level crossings is so important.”
Quote attributable to Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer
“These works will make our community safer, provide a brand-new, modern Union Station, and new cycling and pedestrian links through the area.”
Quote attributable to Member for Hawthorn John Kennedy
“This project will deliver great outcomes for our community by slashing travel times and more trains stopping at the station.”
Reviewed 15 May 2022