The Victorian Government aims to remove 75 dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne by 2025. The Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) is one of the largest rail infrastructure projects in the state’s history. By removing the danger of trains sharing a crossing with vehicles and other users, safety is significantly improved for road users and pedestrians and travel is improved throughout the city for public transport passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
The removal of the level crossing on Toorak Road was undertaken by the South East Program Alliance (SEPA), which comprises the Level Crossing Removal Project, Laing O’Rourke, Jacobs, and Metro Trains Melbourne. Golder was engaged by SEPA to support the project from concept to completion, and we brought our depth of understanding of geotechnical risk and our extensive experience of Melbourne’s notoriously difficult ground conditions.
We provided technical advice at concept stage to identify the right solution for the client and project and pinpointed constructability issues. We undertook geotechnical investigations including pressuremeter testing to improve our understanding of the ground. We then worked through the concept design and detailed design, including review of drawings Issued for Construction (IFC).
Our design included the monopiles for the bridge piers, bored piles for the abutments, and the earthworks and pavement. In close collaboration with the SEPA design team and construction staff, we provided advice in the construction phase, and guidance during the piling, earthworks, and associated activities.
A key success factor was that our design addressed our client’s drivers. Shutting down the train line for extended periods during construction would have been very costly, so we applied a solution that enabled work to take place safely while trains were still running.
Major works to remove the crossing began in September 2019 and the project was completed six months ahead of schedule, in April 2020 – the 35th crossing to be removed in the full scheme. In a very short time, the entire 550 m elevated structure was constructed, 25 new overhead structures were installed, and nearly 1000 m of new track was laid in both directions.
Removing this major traffic bottleneck on Toorak Road reduces congestion and improves safety for those travelling through the area. With trains now travelling on the new rail bridge, more than 37 000 road users will save up to 10 minutes each day on their commute, a benefit to the community and to the environment (through reduced emissions).