FRANKSTON line commuters face short-term travel pain for long-term gain with sections of the railway tracks set to be closed for weeks on end while level crossings are removed.
Eleven level crossings along the Frankston line are earmarked to have their intersection between road and rail separated to stop traffic delays and allow Metro Trains to eventually run more train services.
The Bentleigh, Ormond and McKinnon stations will be demolished and rebuilt from November next year and are expected to reopen in February 2017. Trains will run between Frankston and Moorabbin stations during a planned 34-day line shutdown near the three stations.
Passengers heading into Melbourne will be forced to take buses from Moorabbin train station to Glenhuntley station and also make a swap to bus travel on the way back from Melbourne.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority, tasked by the Labor state government to oversee the level crossings removals, has admitted there will be “significant disruption” at every one of the 50 level crossings to be removed over the next eight years across the state’s rail network.
Labor has promised to separate 20 road and rail intersections during its first four-year term in government.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan says the disruption is necessary to deliver safer and more accessible train stations and ease traffic snarls at level crossings.
“We’re getting on with the job of removing these congested death traps to reduce congestion, save lives and allow us to run more trains.”
The eleven Frankston line crossings to be removed are: North Rd (Ormond), Balcombe Rd (Mentone), Centre Rd (Bentleigh), Charman Rd (Cheltenham), Edithvale Rd (Edithvale), Eel Race Rd (Carrum), McKinnon Rd (McKinnon), Seaford Rd (Seaford), Skye Rd (Frankston), Station St (Bonbeach), Station St (Carrum).
The Andrews government has not yet confirmed when the other eight Frankston line level crossings are due to be removed, forcing further rail line closures while works are carried out.