The level crossing at Grange Road in Alphington is roughly half way between Alphington and Fairfield train stations on the Hurstbridge line and a short distance from Heidelberg Road. Grange Road is a north-south arterial road with two lanes in each direction and provides a connection with the Eastern Freeway to the south via the Chandler Highway and Darebin Road to the north.
On a typical weekday approximately 25,000 vehicles pass through the level crossing. Many of these drivers travel through the level crossing during the 7:00am to 9:00am peak, during which the boom gates are down for approximately 40 minutes.
Earlier in 2016, we spoke with you about options for improving and upgrading the Hurstbridge rail line, as part of the Victorian Government's plan to remove 50 dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne.
After a thorough investigation of a number of design options and substantial community and stakeholder consultation, it has been decided that the Grange Road level crossing will be removed by lowering the railway line to pass under Grange Road. Work will be completed by 2019.
Benefits from a rail trench include:
- Enhanced accessibility and safety
- Improved traffic flow
- Enhanced pedestrian and cycle links
- Enhanced local amenity.
Grange Road level crossing
The Grange Road level crossing is uniquely located in an established residential zone with houses situated close to the railway line. There is no station at the level crossing, which sits in a particularly narrow section of the rail corridor between Alphington and Fairfield stations. There are a small number of shops on Wingrove Street, with the main shopping precinct at Station Street, as well as established pedestrian and cycling routes along Wingrove Street and Fulham Road.
Options assessment and community feedback
We presented design options to the community in June 2016 at a number of information sessions and presentations. We also met with local residents, encouraged open dialogue via our online engagement hub, met with councils and community groups, and answered numerous queries via our 1800 number, contact email and social media channels.
Two rail-based and two road-based design options were considered to remove the level crossing, with the road-based options ruled out in September 2016 due to the extensive impact they would have on the area, including acquisition of private properties.
You can find out more about our investigations of the benefits and challenges of the design options.
Feedback was received from residents, property owners, traders and interest groups in the local area. In total we received 189 formal submissions. We have worked carefully through all this feedback to ensure your views have been considered, along with the results of our technical and engineering investigations to determine the best outcome for this level crossing and the community.
After an assessment using a range of criteria and engineering considerations including community and land use impacts, local topography, environmental impacts, costs, disruption to transport users and construction risks, a rail trench is considered the most suitable option for this site.
The Alphington community provided detailed feedback on the design options for the removal of the level crossing.
This feedback, which fell into the eight key areas shown below, has been taken into consideration in the development of the design option.
What you told us
What we're doing
You wanted to be able to travel efficiently through the area
You wanted enhanced connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists in particular
You wanted consideration of design and aesthetics
You wanted to preserve visual amenity
You wanted improved safety
You wanted to retain existing vegetation
You wanted to retain or create new areas of open space
Removing the Grange Road Level Crossing provides the opportunity to create a new open space at Ravenscourt Place.
You are concerned about construction impacts
There will be some noise, dust and vibration, but we will do our best to minimise this and work with the community to manage impacts and communicate our progress. There are rules and guidelines that govern how we do our work that we need to follow. We'll be available around the clock to talk if you have a concern.
We'll be providing progress updates as planning continues, highlighting opportunities for your continued input and engagement. An overview of the Grange Road level crossing removal is provided in the project lifecycle.
We'll also be establishing a community reference group to engage local representatives and experts to help drive key aspects of our work and ensure strong community influence on issues such as:
- Minimising disruption during construction
- Look and feel of the local area
- Urban design
- Any wider community feedback or concerns.
Getting on with removing the level crossing
The Victorian Government recently announced that an alliance of Laing O'Rourke, Fulton Hogan and Jacobs has been chosen as the preferred bidder for the Hurstbridge Rail Line Upgrade, which includes the Grange Road, Alphington level crossing removal. The upgrade also includes the removal of the level crossing at Lower Plenty Road, Rosanna and the duplication of the Hurstbridge line between Heidelberg and Rosanna stations.
Check out our video about the Hurstbridge rail line upgrade and the feedback we have received.
2016 – Planning
Mid-late 2016 – Options development
|Mid-late 2016 – Procurement|
|Early 2017 – Pre construction|
2017 – Delivery
Works commence – ongoing community engagement, project updates
|2019 – Completion||Project completion – trains run under Grange Road and services resume|
In late February we hosted community sessions at the Fairfield Library, Fairfield Farmers Market and the Alphington Bowls Club for the community to view, discuss and share their thoughts on the design to lower the railway line under Grange Road. Thank you to everyone who visited and provided feedback, either at these sessions or at our online hub. The submissions period is now closed. In the coming weeks we will be examining the feedback and using it to inform decisions about colours and landscaping and how the new community space at Ravenscourt Place will be used.
You can view the options we presented on our Grange Road engagement hub.
Keeping up to date
We encourage anyone who is interested in the removal of the Grange Road, Alphington level crossing to register their interest to receive project updates and notifications of upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
Local residents, businesses and other stakeholders will be provided project information via website updates, regular bulletins and letterbox drops, local newspaper advertising, onsite information boards and community information displays.
When will the Grange Road level crossing be removed?
Construction will commence in 2017, with the removal expected to be completed by 2019.
When will design commence?
Design development work started in early 2016, around the same time we began consulting with the community. Feedback from community consultation is being used to help develop the design options.
What is an Alliance?
Under an alliance contract, a state agency (in this case the Level Crossing Removal Authority) works collaboratively with private sector parties to develop designs and to deliver the project.
When will you consult with the community regarding this project?
Community consultation for this project was conducted between March and July 2016. The feedback gathered during this period will be used to help develop the designs.
A formal submission process was held in late November/early December as part of the project's formal request for a planning scheme amendment to the Minister for Planning.
What does the Grange Road project involve?
The project will include the separation of the railway line from the road level to improve safety and reduce congestion.
Why are you removing the Grange Road level crossing?
The level crossing is a major congestion point for thousands of motorists each day, particularly during the weekday morning peak between 7:00am and 9:00am, when the boom gates are down for around 40 minutes.
Removing the boom gates will mean no more level crossing queues for the 22,000 vehicles that use the level crossing each weekday.
The level crossing adds to congestion woes also experienced by motorists at the nearby Chandler Highway in Kew, which has consistently topped the RACV Red Spot Survey since 2006.
Will the level crossing removal result in increased noise from trains?
Any impacts on noise will depend on the final design chosen. Noise assessments will be carried out prior to the start of construction. The project will meet the thresholds set out in the Victorian Government's Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise Policy.
How can I stay up to date on the level crossing removals? Will I be notified about works that directly affect me?
You can keep track of progress here on our site, where you can also sign up to receive email updates about specific level crossing removals, or by connecting with us on social media.
Local residents, businesses and other stakeholders will be kept up to date during the project through a range of:
- letterbox drops and doorknocks
- community information sessions and pop ups
- local newspaper advertisements
- social media
- onsite information boards and station posters
- 24-hour information lines during construction.
Will you impact the Fairfield or Alphington train station buildings?
No, the site in Grange Road, Alphington is between Fairfield and Alphington stations and there will be no impact to the stations.
Will the Grange Road works conflict with VicRoads' Chandler Highway Upgrade?
Works will be coordinated with the nearby Chandler Highway Upgrade to minimise disruptions to the community as much as possible and to provide a good, considered outcome which significantly enhances transport benefits in the local area.
Will the removal of the Grange Road level crossing preclude the potential removal of the Station Street level crossing?
No. The Grange Road level crossing removal does not preclude the potential for the removal of the Station Street level crossing in the future.