Melbourne’s most colourful rail line machinery has now helped to install more than 100 beams between Caulfield and Hughesdale in the effort to remove dangerous and congested level crossings.
The blue super-sized straddle carrier, which has been operating from Murrumbeena alongside two large gantry cranes since August last year, has been working to lift concrete beams weighing up to 400 tonnes and lower them into place to form a 3.2km section of the new elevated rail.
While works progress to remove all nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong, the straddle carrier has been custom-built to operate in one of the narrowest sections of rail corridor in Melbourne’s south east, meaning the rail line could be built from above rather than from the side.
“Understanding the complexity of this section, we’ve sourced these innovative machines to achieve the elevated design,” Project Director Brett Summers said.
“Getting these 100 spans in place is a huge achievement, and one our crews should be proud of.”
Hitting the major milestone recently, coinciding with six million work hours logged on the Caulfield to Dandenong Project, focus will now turn to the final 70-odd concrete beams which still need to be installed in readiness for steel track to be laid.
The completion of the elevated section by the end of 2018 will enable the removal of Grange, Koornang, Murrumbeena and Poath Road level crossings, where boom gates are down for up to 80 minutes in each two-hour morning peak.
Then, landscaping works can commence to replace the old ground-level tracks and create new open space including parks, paths and play areas.
As part of the summer blitz, buses began replacing trains between Caulfield and Dandenong until the last service on 17 January. The works will see beams soon installed over Grange Road in Carnegie, requiring the road to be closed to drivers and pedestrians (outside peak hours) between Monday 22 January and Monday 5 February.
Works will also start tomorrow and next Thursday 18 January respectively on the South Morang and Hurstbridge lines, with buses replacing trains on sections of the lines.
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