29 Level Crossings Gone As Buckley St Underpass Opens

The Andrews Labor Government promised to remove 20 level crossings by the end of 2018 and today 29 are now gone for good.

In Essendon, traffic is flowing freely through the new Buckley Street road underpass after it opened earlier today, removing the dangerous and congested level crossing months ahead of schedule.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan joined Member for Essendon Danny Pearson and Member for Niddrie Ben Carroll at the former dangerous level crossing to see traffic flowing safely separated from trains.

To build the new 270 metre road underpass, more than 20,000 tonnes of soil was removed at an average rate of 1,300 tonnes per day using four excavators, two bulldozers, a grader and a loader. A total of 5,000 truckloads, including 60,000 cubic metres of concrete and 4,000 tonnes of steel, were delivered to complete the project.

The removal of the level crossing means Essendon is now safer and better connected for thousands of local school children when they return from school holidays.

The level crossing was among the worst in Melbourne with the boom gates down for around 78 minutes during the morning peak. It led to major delays on Buckley Street and surrounding roads and caused frustration for the 11,000 people who drove through it each day.

Almost 300 people worked around the clock during the final seven week construction blitz to remove the Buckley Street level crossing, with landscaping works to be complete by the end of the year.

Across Melbourne, the Labor Government has removed 29 level crossings and built 22 stations.

These works are also making communities safer – over the decade to 2015, 20 people have lost their lives at the 50 dangerous level crossings the Government is removing, with 60 collisions and around 680 near-misses.

The massive pipeline of work is also creating thousands of local jobs, with more than 26 million hours now worked on the project. Planning is already underway to remove the next 21 level crossings and works are ramping up at Carrum, Reservoir and Laverton.

As noted by Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“We promised we’d remove 20 of our most dangerous and congested level crossings and we’ve well and truly smashed that, with 29 gone for good.”

“Whether it’s building the Metro Tunnel, adding hundreds of extra services, removing level crossings and planning for the future – Victorians know Labor delivers to get you home safer and sooner.”

As stated by Member for Essendon Danny Pearson

“I’m thrilled that Essendon is both safer and better connected now that the level crossing is gone. I thank the local community for their patience while we got the job done months ahead of schedule.”

As stated by Minister for Industry and Employment and Member for Niddrie Ben Carroll

“Our massive pipeline of investment is not only building a better transport system, but also creating jobs.”

/Public Release.View in full here.