Sky trains will replace level crossings on Melbourne’s busiest rail route, a $1.6 billion project that’s raised the ire of some residents.
Three sections of the Cranbourne-Pakenham line will be elevated up to 10m above the ground as part of the state government’s level crossing removal project, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
He said large areas of open space created by the raised rail would be transformed into community areas, with gardens, running tracks and car parks.
Construction on the project, which will create more than 2000 jobs, will begin this year and it’s due to finish in 2018.
“This is a modern solution for a modern city, one of the world’s great cities, with the sort of transport infrastructure that we need as we look at growth and all those other challenges,” Mr Andrews said.
The plan will remove nine level crossings between Dandenong and Caulfield.
Mr Andrews said the project was accounted for in last year’s budget and didn’t need land to be acquired.
Community consultation began last year, and affected residents, who were doorknocked on Saturday night, would be assigned their own case manager, Mr Andrews said.
Screens will be built along the structure to ensure privacy.
The government says the rail line could not go underground because the route also carries diesel trains, but Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said that was a “furphy”.
He said Mr Andrews didn’t take elevated rail to the election and he owes residents an explanation.
“No one was told there would be nearly nine kilometres of elevated rail in existing settled suburbs,” Mr Guy told reporters.
Carnegie resident Karlee Browning, who attended a meeting with hundreds of residents in Murrumbeena, said there was a “groundswell” of concern and lots of stakeholders had not been consulted.
“I think this is just a snapshot of what’s coming, there was a lot of people there asking a lot of questions,” Ms Browning said.
The project will be built by a consortium, including CPB Contractors and Lend Lease.
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS:
- Open space created is the size of 11 MCGs
- Five new stations at Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Clayton and Noble Park
- 30 platforms lengthened to support 37 high-capacity trains
- Space for 11,000 extra passengers in peak hour
- Modelling shows raised rail lines mean less noise at street level.