We’ve hit a major milestone at South Gippsland Highway in Dandenong South, with the removal of our 47th level crossing.
The newly opened road bridge was used by vehicles for the first time this morning following a 19 day construction blitz, boosting safety for one of Melbourne’s busiest manufacturing routes.
Crews 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, 500m of kerbside guttering and planted 45 trees to finalise the 11th level crossing removal on the Pakenham Line.
The level crossing removal will help reduce congestion in Melbourne’s south-east, home to about 40% of the city’s manufacturing industry, which supports 92,000 jobs and $12 billion in economic activity.
More green space announced
Designs have been released for the 8000 square metres of green space that will be constructed at the site of the former intersection of South Gippsland Highway and Princes Highway, following the completion of the new road bridge.
Extensive landscaping will turn the area into a vibrant, green space for the community, including new seating and lighting within the space.
It will also include the final section of new footpaths to be constructed as part of the project, connecting the south side of Princes Highway to the new pedestrian paths along the road bridge and intersection.
Work on the green space will start in early 2022 and will be completed in mid 2022.
Making Melbourne’s roads safer
Before construction 31,000 drivers used the South Gippsland Highway level crossing each day, with the boom gates previously holding up traffic for 31% of the morning peak.
The former 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.
Big improvements for south-east suburbs
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.
It is part of the Victorian Government's massive investment in Melbourne’s south-east, including the Metro Tunnel Project 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 4 level crossing removals, a new Merinda Park Station and full duplication of the line – allowing for trains every 10 minutes.
Across Melbourne, more than 20 level crossing removals are under construction, with one crossing being removed every four weeks on average this year and 85 on track to be removed by 2025.