4 level crossings to go in Preston next month
4 dangerous and congested level crossings in Preston will be gone for good next month. The level crossings are being removed by elevating the rail line over the roads, with one side of the track now complete.
Hundreds of locally-made concrete segments have been dropped into place, and ballast, rail and concrete sleepers have been installed to form the new rail bridge.
Trains on the Mernda Line will run on the new elevated rail bridge in late May. Passengers and road users are asked to plan ahead as construction nears the finish line.
Removing the level crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road will improve safety and ease congestion for the 82,000 vehicles passing through these intersections each day, with boom gates down for up to 40 per cent of the morning peak.
These works are set to make Bell Street boom gate free, boosting safety for motorists using one of Melbourne’s busiest roads.
Raising the Mernda Line over the roads will make room for 3 MCGs worth of new open space, including landscaping with more than 700 trees, new playgrounds, and a shared walking and cycling path to connect the new Preston and Bell stations. The open space underneath the elevated rail line will open to the community in 2023.
To allow crews to safely remove the boom gates and prepare the elevated rail bridge for train services, buses will replace trains on sections of the Mernda Line from 9pm Tuesday 17 May until last service Sunday 29 May.
When train services resume on Monday 30 May, they will use a single section of track between Bell and Preston for around 3 months while crews work to complete the second elevated rail bridge.
Trains will run express through Preston and Bell stations during this time, as construction continues to build the new state-of-the-art stations. This allows trains to continue running while construction is underway, minimising disruption for passengers and reducing the need for longer rail closures.
During this time, passengers can use a nearby station or take a shuttle bus to and from the closed stations. There will be changes to the Mernda Line timetable, with more information to be provided closer to the time.