Level crossing construction ramping up in Preston

There will be significant disruption on the Mernda Line while level crossing works take place.

THE government of Victoria’s work to remove four dangerous and congested level crossings in Preston is said to be scaling up, with a six-day “construction blitz” to take place along the Mernda line from this week.

Crews are preparing to build a new two-kilometre rail bridge as the crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road are removed, cutting congestion and making the roads safer for the more than 82,000 motorists who pass through each day – where the boom gates are down for up to 40 per cent of the morning peak.

From 8.30pm Wednesday (12 May) until the last service on Tuesday 11 May, buses are to replace trains on the Mernda line between Clifton Hill and Reservoir as the construction crew works inside the rail corridor, installing overhead wiring structures and carrying out signalling, track, and drainage works.

The existing station buildings at Bell and Preston will be demolished and temporary station facilities installed to reduce disruption for passengers while the new, premium stations are built – and passengers will start using the temporary stations when trains return to the line on Wednesday 12 May.

Bell Street is to remain open to traffic during the construction, although there will be some local road closures and pedestrian access changes in the area.

The four level crossings at Preston will be gone, and the new stations open by the end of 2022, with the open space ready for the community to enjoy in 2023.

Disruptions to train services on the Mernda line will be kept to a minimum during construction, with works planned so that the rail line will never close for more than two weeks at a time.

“We’re removing four of Melbourne’s most notorious level crossings,” said transport infrastructure Jacinta Allan.

“These includie the state’s busiest at Bell Street in Preston – easing congestion in the north and improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and rail passengers.”

Member for Northcote Kat Theophanous said that soon their community will no longer be divided as the rail line is elevated.

She said this would free up “a significant amount of open space for everyone to enjoy”.

Member for Preston Robin Scott said it was exciting to see major works kicking off on the Preston level crossing removals.

“With the elevated rail and brand-new stations to be open by 2022, our local community will be safer and less congested for everyone,” Scott said.

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