Project overview

Located in the heart of Sunbury, the Gap Road level crossing will be removed with a road under rail design – improving safety and easing congestion. We are also creating a new shared path separate from the road, safely connecting pedestrians and cyclists to both sides of Sunbury.

A major source of congestion, the boom gates at Gap Road can be down for up to 26 per cent of the morning peak, when up to 24 trains run through the crossing.

The Gap Road Level Crossing Removal project is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to remove 75 of the most dangerous and congested level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne by 2025.

Works are due to begin in 2021, the level crossing will be gone for good in 2022, and the project completed in 2023. Once complete, the project will enable people to get around the town centre safely without delays from boom gates.

The project will be delivered in conjunction with the Sunbury Line Upgrade as part of works in the Sunbury Station precinct. Delivering these projects together will minimise disruption to the Sunbury community during construction. The 2 projects will be delivered in a partnership between Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) and the Level Crossing Removal Project.

This report provides a summary of feedback relating to planning matters received as part of our community consultation from Monday 9 November to Sunday 29 November 2020.

Why this level crossing has to go

  • 19,000 cars travel through the level crossing each day
  • Boom gates down for 26 per cent of the morning peak
  • Up to 24 trains run through the crossing in the morning peak

Community consultation

Early project engagement

2019 - late 2020

Community engagement for the Gap Road level crossing removal started in July 2019 with a newsletter detailing the start of site investigations issued to Sunbury homes and businesses.

In 2020, we undertook targeted consultation with the community, businesses, and stakeholders including Hume City Council, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, utility operators and landowners.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, community consultation was mainly conducted online. We worked hard to ensure the community could still engage with us on this project through virtual meetings, phone calls, virtual information sessions, emails, mail outs, social media, news media and consultation on the Engage Victoria hub.

Thank you for your patience and for continuing to provide your valuable feedback.

Planning and design engagement

November 2020

In November 2020, RPV confirmed the road under rail design for the level crossing removal and asked for community feedback on urban design and planning matters. This engagement phase began on Monday 9 November and concluded on Sunday 29 November 2020.

An online survey asked the community for feedback on key aspects of the project design, including urban design, landscaping, public artworks, construction related impacts, environmental and amenity impacts. Two virtual information sessions were held on Saturday 21 November and Tuesday 24 November 2020.

This engagement provided potentially impacted stakeholders with the opportunity to share their feedback on the project so RPV can consider these views and the best way to address issues and concerns.

Hume Planning Scheme

In accordance with the requirements of Clause 52.03 of the Hume Planning Scheme, RPV has undertaken consultation with Hume City Council, stakeholders, and the local community

Feedback snapshot

There was a high level of community interest in the planning and design engagement phase in November 2020.

  • 2,220 fact sheets mailed out to Sunbury homes and businesses
  • 604 e-news recipients
  • 172 online surveys responses
  • 354 visits to the project website
  • 23 contributions in the online forum
  • 12 attendees to the virtual information sessions
  • 17,859 views and 7,699 clicks on the Facebook video showing the level crossing removal design and including a call to action to complete the online survey

What we've heard

The majority of survey respondents live in Sunbury or neighbouring suburbs. People travel through the Gap Road level crossing mainly to go to local shops, businesses, or community facilities and to catch the train at Sunbury Station.

Where do you live?

  • Sunbury 82%
  • Diggers Rest 6%
  • Other 12%

Why do you travel through the Gap Road level crossing?

  • To drive to work in the Sunbury town centre 17%
  • Walk/ride along Gap Road/Station Street for leisure 22%
  • To drive to work outside of Sunbury 23%
  • Park at Sunbury Station 40%
  • Catch the train at Sunbury Station 48%
  • To go to local shops, businesses or community facilities 89%
  • Other 24%

What you told us about yourselves

  • local residents 73%
  • commuters 16%
  • local business owners or workers 7%

Project opportunities and challenges

Submissions showed that people saw the project’s potential to improve traffic movement within the local area and safety for road users. Some common concerns around potential impacts were also expressed.

Top opportunities and challenges

Traffic management opportunities

There were suggestions to implement appropriate traffic management plans during construction to ensure pedestrians and road users could move safely around the town centre.

Traffic management challenges

You told us about concerns that the project may exacerbate traffic congestion issues in the Sunbury town centre during construction.

Construction impacts opportunities

We heard from people that although construction impacts are anticipated, appropriate traffic management and timely communication of construction activities would minimise impacts.

Construction impacts challenges

People were concerned about construction impacts on the local amenity, including noise and dust from works and disruptions to pedestrian and traffic movement.

Some people shared concerns about impacts on property value and business operations in the area.

Project scope opportunities

Many people saw the project as beneficial to the Sunbury community and supported the decision to remove the Gap Road level crossing.

People highlighted the project as an opportunity to improve traffic movement in the area and local amenity with a design that acknowledges the local history and promotes pedestrians and road users’ safety.

Project scope challenges

Some of your feedback was considered outside of the project scope. This included comments relating to the need for a third railway crossing and suggestions for wider precinct improvements such as more bike paths, open spaces and station improvements.

Project response

The Gap Road level crossing removal is a critical project that will improve safety and ease congestion in the increasingly busy Sunbury town centre. We understand the project may be disruptive and we are working to minimise the impacts on surrounding properties. We will continue working closely with residents and traders throughout project construction to understand how we can best manage their operational and access requirements.

We are currently looking at ways to reduce the duration and requirement for road closures during construction. We do not plan to provide a temporary railway crossing for cars during road closures. This is due to the complexities of building a temporary crossing over the rail corridor, safety and the likely need for land acquisition due to limited available space in the Sunbury town centre.

Planning matters

Many people had comments about planning matters including community engagement, environmental management, and heritage matters.

Top matters raised by the community

Environmental management concerns

Some people were concerned about the project increasing the potential for flooding in the area, and the noise and dust generated during construction.

Community suggestions included using sustainable solutions for the project.

Suggested mitigation

The project works are not located within a floodway overlay. However, potential flooding impacts will be considered in compliance with the Melbourne Water requirements for flooding and overland flows.

Works will be planned with due consideration to the amenity of nearby stakeholders and monitoring will be completed in line with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines. Furthermore, local residents, traders and commuters will be notified prior to any disruptive works.

Environmental management will be further refined during the detailed design phase of the project. We will continue to seek community feedback so where possible the detailed design is influenced by community and stakeholder feedback.

Community engagement concerns

We heard your feedback that consultation with Sunbury residents and traders must continue throughout the project. People highlighted the importance of keeping the local community including road and public transport users informed during construction works through timely notifications and clear signage.

Suggested mitigation

RPV has developed a community and stakeholder engagement program to ensure that stakeholders and the community are informed as project delivery progresses. RPV will continue to ensure the project remains responsive to community and stakeholder feedback. The community will continue to receive frequent updates about progress, disruptions, and milestones in the lead up to and during construction.

Heritage matters concerns

People referred to general heritage and local history matters.

Some suggestions referenced the importance of the project promoting the local history and providing a design consistent with Sunbury cultural heritage and local history.

Suggested mitigation

RPV recognises that local history and heritage are important to the community. The road under rail design seeks to retain heritage buildings and ease traffic around the Sunbury community. Gap Road/Station Street will be lowered under the rail line to preserve the character of the heritage-listed Sunbury Station, improve safety and ease congestion when more trains run on the Sunbury Line in the future.

A Cultural Heritage Management Plan has been prepared and approved under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic). This plan established appropriate management conditions, provided contingency arrangements, and included consultation with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

What’s next?

Thank you for taking the time to share your local knowledge for this round of feedback. Gathering your insights means we can deliver a project that truly reflects the interests of the local community.

The Gap Road Level Crossing Removal project was approved by the Minister for Planning on 14 April 2021 under Clause 52.03 (Level Crossing Removal Project) of the Hume Planning Scheme.

Site investigations

Site investigations in and around the level crossing and station area are underway to further understand the environmental and ground conditions. We will continue to send you updates as detailed design development progresses and to keep you in the loop as to how community and stakeholder feedback has informed the final project design.

Community consultation

Throughout 2021 we will continue engagement with Hume City Council, Sunbury residents and traders, and other key stakeholders. In-person engagement opportunities will be assessed against the latest health advice regarding COVID-19 and will be supported with online engagement.

Early works and construction

Preparatory works on the level crossing removal will begin this year and the the level crossing removed by 2022. Further details about how major construction works will be delivered will be available later in 2021 once a construction partner has been appointed.

Project design

We are continuing to develop the project design using community ideas on materials, landscaping, and public artworks. Updated designs will be shared later in 2021.

Sunbury Station Car Park Upgrade

More than 300 new car parking spaces for commuters, traders and shoppers are also being delivered in the Sunbury Station precinct in a partnership between the Department of Transport and Hume City Council.

The Sunbury Station Car Park Upgrade project, currently in planning and development, will feature accessible parking and secure bicycle storage.

Sunbury Line Upgrade

The Sunbury Line Upgrade will enable more modern trains to run on the line, creating room for 113,000 more passengers during peak periods every week when the Metro Tunnel is completed.

Enhancements being delivered as part of the project include track improvements and power upgrades, platform extensions and train stabling facility modifications.

Project timeline

  • 2019-20
    Site investigations
  • Late 2020
    Early design development
    Community consultation
    Ongoing site investigations
  • 2021
    Final designs announced
    Contract award
    Works begin
  • 2022
    Level crossing removed
  • 2023
    Project complete