Priority Level Crossing Removal Sites: Surrey Hills and Mont Albert
The Victorian Government has adopted a selection framework for future level crossing removals. Under the framework, crossings are prioritised
for removal based on the following key principles:
Sites with a record of incidents and a high risk of incidents.
Sites with excessive delay, congestion and unreliability, caused by high train frequencies and high traffic volumes.
Sites where high train frequency significantly limits connectivity between communities and impedes access to important facilities.
Sites where there is an opportunity to increase investment efficiency and minimise disruption through leveraging delivery of other projects across the network. Using this framework, crossings at Union Road, Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road, Mont Albert have been identified as priority sites for future removal.
About 22,000 vehicles currently travel through these two crossings each day. That figure is forecast to grow by 18 per cent to more than 26,000 by 2026. The boom gates at these sites can be down for up to 40 per cent of the 7-9 am morning peak, when up to 53 trains run through the crossings.
Current network plans involve increasing trains running on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines, which would mean even more boom gate downtime.
As well as causing congestion and delay, the level crossings in Surrey Hills and Mont Albert present a significant safety risk. There have been two serious collisions since 2005 – including an incident in 2016 when two people died in a collision with a train.
There have also been eight near misses since 2012, when train drivers had to take emergency action.
Removing these crossings as a package would present significant delivery efficiencies – it would be cost effective and limit disruption to road and rail users.
The removal of these level crossings would result in the construction of new Mont Albert and Surrey Hills stations.
Belgrave and Lilydale lines As part of the initial Level Crossing Removal Project, four level crossings have already been removed on the Belgrave/Lilydale line at Blackburn and Heatherdale roads, and on the Belgrave line at Mountain Highway and Scoresby Road in Bayswater.
Two further crossings on the Lilydale line, at Mooroolbark and Lilydale, are also in planning for removal by 2022 as part of the initial Level Crossing Removal Project. Removing the Union Road and Mont Albert Road level crossings would mean all crossings between the CBD and Ringwood had been removed.
Design and next steps
Early investigations suggest the most likely design to remove the Union Road, Surrey Hills, and Mont Albert Road, Mont Albert, level crossings would be to lower the rail line under the road. These options would be subject to further engineering assessments and community consultation.
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