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Seaford Community Update – February 2017

01 Feb 2017

Seaford Road level crossing removal coming soon

The Victorian Government has announced that the level crossing at Seaford Road in Seaford will be removed with a new hybrid design and a huge upgrade of local community facilities.

This level crossing has been fast tracked for removal with a tender phase to kick off this year and construction to start early to mid next year.

The crossing will be fully removed and the project completed in 2019.

The new hybrid design will lower Seaford Road and raise the rail line to remove the level crossing.

Technical studies have shown that this is the only solution to protect the wetlands and Kananook Creek. Unlike at other sites, the groundwater and flooding implications are too significant to build a rail trench.

We've taken a new and unique approach at Seaford Road to protect the environment of the internationally protected Edithvale–Seaford wetlands and Kananook Creek.

Removing this dangerous level crossing will improve safety for the community and means no more waits at the boom gates – which are down for more than half an hour during the morning peak. Along with safety and traffic improvements, Seaford will benefit from a $10 million package of revitalisation works as part of the project. We will soon be talking with you about your ideas for the area. There will be opportunities to provide input to the design, planting, community space, environmental initiatives and new walking and cycling paths.

For more information about how you can get involved, visit Your Level Crossings.

Seaford hybrid design solution

Here's what you can expect:

  • Lowered Seaford Road.
  • Planted rail embankment keeping with the local character of the area.
  • Shorter rail construction compared to other options.
  • Upgrades to Seaford Reserve / R.F. Miles Reserve.
  • Significant new landscaping.
  • New shared walking and cycling paths.
  • Less congestion and better traffic flow.
  • Improved safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Artist impression of rail line going over Seaford Road

Why this is the best option for Seaford

We've been working for more than a year on the best way to remove the Seaford Road level crossing.

We've looked at all the options and undertaken technical investigations, including geotechnical drilling to check underground water levels and conditions. We also consulted extensively in late 2016 with locals on a rail bridge and a rail trench.

The natural environment is an important part of the Seaford community. We now know from our technical work that digging down into a trench will cause greater impact on underground water levels more than in any other area.

We have had to rule out a trench option because of the impact on the plant and wild life of the Seaford wetlands, which are internationally significant and protected. However, we also heard concerns about the rail bridge option we presented to the community last year, particularly around its height and the ability to integrate it into the surrounding environment.

Ducks crossing sign

Working with these factors, we've been able to develop a unique hybrid solution for Seaford where the road will be lowered without impacting the environment, and the rail raised on a short planted embankment.

A rail bridge would have been eight metres high, but this will only be five metres above the existing road level.

We're looking at innovative ways to ensure the rail line fits with the character of the area, including significant planting and embankments and no unsightly structures.

Our investigations tell us that in Seaford, we have clay layers that are closer to the surface. This is notably different to underground conditions in Edithvale and Bonbeach where we have more sandy soil which allows groundwater to pass through more easily.

A trench structure, combined with the clay, would change the groundwater flow. This means the water levels on the inland side could rise, causing potential impacts to the internationally significant and protected Edithvale Seaford wetlands. Water levels on the coastal side could fall, which would in turn affect the ecological habitat of Kananook Creek.

Benefits

The hybrid solution allows us to create new community spaces around the Seaford Road level crossing.

We'll be seeking ideas from Frankston City Council, local groups and the community on what they would like to see as part of a $10 million package of works.

This is an opportunity to revitalise the area with new walking and cycling paths, significant planting, environmental initiatives and upgrades to R.F. Miles Reserve.

Seaford aerial design.

Artist impression. Indicative only. View interactive map.

Snapshot of engagement

  • 2,160 your level crossing visits.
  • 173 people at our community sessions.
  • 206 survey responses.
  • 4,008 video views.
  • 144 online forum comments.
  • 155 phone surveys.

Your feedback

The hybrid design solution for the level crossing removal at Seaford Road was based on three main criteria:

  • technical investigations
  • environmental impacts
  • community feedback.

We undertook extensive consultation about the project late last year, with hundreds of people providing detailed feedback about what they would like to see in Seaford. The consultation found:

  • support for removing the level crossing
  • a general preference for a rail trench (which we've ruled out due to it being a high risk option)
  • the project design needs to be in keeping with the local character of the area
  • concern about environmental impacts to the wetlands and Kananook Creek.
  • We would like to thank everyone who participated in our consultation on this important project.

Fast facts:

  • 32 minutes the boom gates are down in the morning peak.
  • 17,000 vehicles a day travel through Seaford Road.
  • 210 train services travel through the Frankston line level crossings each week day.
  • An average of approximately 40,000 passengers each weekday on the Frankston line.

Project timeline

  • 2016 Early investigations and consultation on options
  • 2017 Present design solution and refine through community feedback. Tender phase.
  • 2018 Construction
  • 2019 Project complete

Community Reference Group

We are establishing a Community Reference Group (CRG) to gain input into the project as we move towards construction. The group will consist of local representatives and project staff. It will provide a forum for sharing information, gaining feedback and capturing local views.

The group will meet approximately every two months in the lead up to the project's construction, providing an opportunity to help shape the final design. Further details about the group's membership will be provided soon.

Planning requirements

We will work with the relevant legislation and guidelines to gain planning and environmental approvals for the project.

These approvals and permits will include a Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) to the Frankston Planning Scheme to undertake works in the area.

Your feedback will be summarised and provided to the State Minister for Planning as part of a formal request to amend the relevant planning scheme. The amendment would create a site specific control called an 'Incorporated Document', which means the project is formally approved and allowed to proceed.

Where to from here?

We will be out meeting with locals and community groups to explain more about the project.

We will also be out in the community with our mobile information hub where you can meet some of the project team and get more information on the project. Please look out for more information as to when and where we will be in the coming weeks.

We're always keen to hear what you think about the project so feel free to drop us a line at contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au, use our online Q&A tool or write to us at Level Crossing Removal Authority, GPO Box 4509, Melbourne 3001 to share your feedback and ideas for:

  • minimising disruption during construction
  • the look and feel of the local area
  • landscaping
  • urban design
  • wider community feedback or concerns.

View the PDF print version of this community update PDF, 991.4 KB

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