The Andrews Labor Government has reached another significant milestone, removing its 47th level crossing since 2015 – at South Gippsland Highway in Dandenong South – and unveiling plans for new green space in the area.
The road bridge opened today following a 19-day construction blitz, allowing free-flowing traffic and boosting safety for one of Melbourne’s busiest manufacturing routes.
Crews have worked around-the-clock since Friday 16 July to connect the new road bridge with the South Gippsland Highway and the new Princes Highway intersection. In that time, they laid 3500 tonnes of asphalt, 500 metres of kerbside guttering and planted 45 trees to finalise this level crossing removal on the Pakenham line.
The level crossing removal will help reduce congestion in Melbourne’s south-east, home to about 40 per cent of the city’s manufacturing industry, which supports 92,000 jobs and $12 billion in economic activity.
The South Gippsland Highway and Princes Highway intersection was the site of one fatal incident and four crashes resulting in serious injury during the past 10 years. The level crossing nearby was the site of four collisions and more than 40 near misses between 2005 and 2015.
The boom gates at the South Gippsland Highway level crossing, which is used by 31,000 drivers used each day, hold up traffic for 31 per cent of the morning peak.
As well as improving traffic flow, getting rid of this level crossing will also allow for more trains to run on the Pakenham line in the future, bringing the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines one step closer being level crossing free by 2025 and creating capacity for an extra 121,000 passengers.
With a huge new space planned for the former intersection following the removal works, extensive landscaping and land forming will turn the area into a vibrant green space for the community.
It will also include new shared use paths for cyclists and pedestrians to create safer connections across the Princes Highway and to the Dandenong South Trail, along with new seating and lighting throughout the green space.
It is part of the Labor Government’s integrated Big Build transport plan in Melbourne’s south-east, including the Metro Tunnel Project, HCMT’s and Cranbourne Line Upgrade, and will ensure the removal of 50 of Melbourne’s most congested and dangerous level crossings will be achieved 12 months ahead of schedule later this year.
Meanwhile, works are continuing on the $1 billion Cranbourne Line Upgrade, which includes four level crossing removals, a new Merinda Park Station and full duplication of the line – allowing for trains every 10 minutes.
As stated by Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“We’re thrilled to see our 47th level crossing gone for good, with more than 50 to go by the end of the year – reducing congestion and make Melbourne’s roads safer.”
“We’re not done removing level crossings in this area – we’re getting rid of 22 crossings on the Pakenham line and making the Cranbourne line crossing free as part of our works to benefit commuters in Melbourne’s south-east.”
As stated by Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams
“Boom gates interrupting traffic on this busy route is now a thing of the past and with the South Gippsland Highway level crossing now gone it means less time stuck in traffic and more time working towards Victoria’s economy.”
“We’d like to thank the community for their patience while the road was closed as crews worked to deliver faster, safer freight routes to ensure Dandenong remains one of the most efficient manufacturing centres in Australia.”