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Preston Q and As

03 Aug 2020

On the Mernda line, the level crossings at Murray Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Oakover Road in Preston will be removed simultaneously by raising the rail line.

  • What level crossings are being removed?
    • The Preston Level Crossing Removal Project will get rid of the boom gates at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road in Preston. By raising the rail over the roads, the Preston project will deliver new community open spaces, two new premium stations and improve safety.

  • How will the level crossings be removed?
    • We’re raising the rail on a section of the Mernda line, removing the level crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road in Preston.

  • Why are you removing these level crossings?
    • At these four level crossings, the boom gates are down for up to 40 per cent of the morning peak, causing delays and leading to congestion for road users.

      Removing these level crossings will also enhance safety and improve traffic flow in the area for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.

  • When will the level crossings be removed?
    • Construction will begin in 2020. All four sets of boom gates will be removed by the end of 2021, with construction complete in 2022.

  • Are there going to be any new stations built as part of the project?
    • New premium stations will be built at Bell and Preston to accommodate raised platforms and improve station facilities.

  • Why has a rail over road design been selected for this project?
    • Raising the rail line over the road will create new open space under the rail bridge and improve east–west connections while minimising disruption during construction.

  • Why were other designs, such as lowering the rail into an open trench, not selected for removing these level crossings?
    • Digging a rail trench would be more disruptive to nearby residents, causing greater noise, dust and vibration. It would also require a much longer shutdown of the rail line and more machinery and trucks on local streets.

      The land surrounding the rail corridor in Preston lies on a natural flood plain. If the rail was lowered into a trench, extensive drainage work would need to be carried out in the area. Melbourne’s oldest surviving water main system, the Yan Yean Water Supply System, also runs through the area and would need to be redirected if the rail line was lowered.

      Road based solutions were ruled out due to the impact they would have on the community and busy local intersections, as well as requiring the acquisition of homes and businesses.

  • How high will the rail bridge be?
    • The height of the rail bridges will vary along the corridor. We are working to refine the designs including the height of the elevated structures.

      We will be back out to the community as the project progresses to show you concept designs of the elevated structures and station precincts.

  • Where will the proposed rail bridge start and end?
    • We are working to refine the design for this project, including where the rail bridge will start and end. We will be coming back out to talk to the community as the project progresses.

  • How will the overshadowing and visual impact of the two rail bridges be minimised?
    • We are working to refine the designs and understand potential overshadowing and visual impacts.

      We will be back out to talk to the community as the project progresses to show you concept designs of the elevated structure and station precincts.

  • When will you release the final design?
    • We will be coming back out to the community in the coming months to engage on aspects of the design, such as the use of open spaces and the look and feel of the station precincts. This feedback will be used to help finalise the design.

  • What will be built under the rail bridge?
    • Raising the rail line will offer the opportunity to develop new public open space below the rail line and around the station precincts. Recent community consultation highlighted the community’s desire for more open and green spaces in the area, as well as improving connections and access to local shops, schools and transport options.

      We have established the Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP) to ensure:

      • Members of the Preston community can provide feedback on designs of newly created open spaces
      • Make sure a broad range of community perspectives are considered
      • Share project information and updates with the local community.

      Their perspectives will help us design a space that will be used by locals for generations to come.

  • I shared my ideas and thoughts on how the new open space should be developed. What are you doing with the feedback?
    • We're taking into consideration what we heard from the community in the development of the new open spaces.

      We’re also working with the Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP) to further build on what we heard when developing some of the open space areas.

      To stay up to date with the project we recommend you sign up for email updates.

  • Will any trees be removed as part of the project?
    • The Level Crossing Removal Project is currently assessing engineering requirements and technical considerations for the removal of the level crossings on the Mernda line. Construction details are yet to be finalised, including laydown areas for equipment storage.

      The project will aim to minimise construction impacts and retain existing trees and vegetation where possible. A qualified arborist will undertake a full assessment of all trees in the project area to understand potential impacts of the project during construction.

  • Will you close the Mernda line during construction?
    • Rail closures will be required at times so project works can be safely conducted when trains aren’t running.

      Once the construction schedule is finalised, we will be able to inform the community and commuters of planned rail disruptions.

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