Early completion for Avon River rail bridge

Construction of the new Avon River rail bridge in Stratford has been completed three months ahead of schedule.

The first passenger trains have now travelled over the new 504-metre-long Avon River rail bridge, following a nine-day, 7000-hour construction blitz to connect the new bridge to the rail line.

Critical track and signalling works were also completed, along with upgrading the McAlister Street level crossing which now features boom gates and a pedestrian crossing.

The new bridge will provide more reliable services for passengers along the Gippsland line, with trains now able to cross at 90km/h rather than just 10km/h.

With this milestone achieved, Rail Projects Victoria now moves onto the next phase of the Gippsland line upgrade, selecting a preferred contractor to deliver a major package of works between Pakenham and Traralgon which will deliver 40-minute off-peak frequency for trains between Traralgon and Melbourne and more reliable services along the Gippsland Line. 

VicConnect, a consortium comprising UGL Limited, Decmil and Arup, is the preferred contractor for these works, which includes duplicating track, extending the Morwell crossing loop, upgrading level crossings and signalling, and adding second platforms at four stations along the line. 

The consortium will undertake early works on the project over the coming months, including site investigations, procurement, engineering and design.

The project also includes upgrades to drainage structures at Morwell River, upgrades to signalling and a Victorian-first trial of wireless solar-powered level crossing detection technology at Farrells Lane in Stratford.

The new wireless technology has the potential to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of upgrading level crossings, and could deliver huge benefits for future rail projects in more rural locations right across the state.

The new Avon River Bridge was jointly-funded, with the Australian Government contributing $79,447,866 and the Victorian Government committing the remaining $7,552,134. 

The project is being delivered as part of the Regional Rail Revival program which is upgrading every regional passenger rail line in Victoria.