A topical subject in my area of residence over the last few years is the dangerous and congested level crossings along the Frankston rail line. This has been a priority of the State Government and they have invested $2.4 billion for the removal of 50 of Victoria’s most dangerous level crossings. (Department of Treasury and Finance, 2015, p. 16)
One of the level crossings that is being replaced is the Seaford Level crossing. Seaford Road where the crossing runs from the Nepean Highway past Eastlink and through to Frankston-Dandenong Road. It is a busy thoroughfare and passes through residential and recreational areas with parks and reserves dotted along Seaford Road. Currently 17,000 vehicles pass through the level crossing a day. (Level Crossing Removal Authority [LXRA], 2017)
With no less than eight schools that within eight kilometres of the crossing, many students are driven to school and are part of the 17,000 vehicles that cross over the level crossing. Boom gates are down for an average of 32 minutes during the peak time 7-9am. This impacts travel times for these motorists and pedestrians on the same route.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority [LXRA] undertook detailed planning and community consultation on the best way to remove the crossing. It was narrowed down to two options:
1) Lowering the rail line into a trench and build a new Seaford Road bridge at the current road level or
2) Building a hybrid design which will lower Seaford road and place the rail line on a planted embankment to separate road from rail.
Both designs were thoroughly researched in liaison with STEM experts and the local community. Stipulations in planning were that the railway line needs to fit into the character of the area, including landscaping and embankments. Starting this March the LXRA is removing the Seaford Road Level crossing and replacing it with the favoured hybrid design. See picture above (http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/crossings/seaford-road-seaford).
Please click on the pontoon link below to see the rationale for the Seaford Level Crossing context