By Mitchell Clarke
Early works to remove one of Pakenham’s most congested level crossings have officially begun.
Geotechnical investigations, which started in late March at Racecourse Road, will see 100mm wide and 40 metre deep holes drilled along the rail corridor between Racecourse Road and McGregor Road.
It’s anticipated the investigations will provide information about ground conditions at the site – informing the final design of the project and how it will be constructed.
“These Geotech investigations are a welcomed start to what will be a big project with massive benefits to our community and commuters,” Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said.
The McGregor Road, Main Street and Racecourse Road level crossings will all be removed by raising the rail line over the road in a major project to boost safety and abolish congestion.
Combined with the Metro Tunnel and new trains, the Pakenham level crossing removals will help make space for 121,000 extra peak hour passengers a week on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
Boom gates in Pakenham can be down for up to 30 percent of the morning peak, with up to 23 trains running through the crossings.
A new “superstation” will also be built at Pakenham which aims to improve access for the growing number of commuters.
Meanwhile, works to remove the Cardinia Road level crossing are continuing, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Work is continuing on all of Victoria’s major transport infrastructure projects,” a government spokesperson said.
“Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) has a comprehensive protocol in place to manage the potential spread and exposure risks of coronavirus.
“The safety and wellbeing of all our staff is our number one priority and we are continuing to monitor current advice and ensure our people and projects are prepared.”
If an MTIA staff member has a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus based on medical diagnosis then the appropriate actions will be taken with guidance from the DHHS, the spokesperson added.
The Cardinia Road level crossing is scheduled to be removed by by 2021, and the three crossings at McGregor Road, Main Street and Racecourse Road will be removed by 2025.