Level crossing works ramping up in Preston

Work to remove four dangerous and congested level crossings in Preston is scaling up, with a six-day construction blitz to take place along the Mernda line from this evening.

Crews are preparing to build a new two-kilometre rail bridge as the crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road are removed, cutting congestion and making the roads safer for the more than 82,000 motorists who pass through each day, where the boom gates are down for up to 40 per cent of the morning peak.

From 8.30pm tonight until the last service on Tuesday 11 May, buses will replace trains on the Mernda line between Clifton Hill and Reservoir as the construction crew works inside the rail corridor, installing overhead wiring structures and carrying out signaling, track, and drainage works.

The existing station buildings at Bell and Preston will be demolished and temporary station facilities installed to reduce disruption for passengers while the new, premium stations are built. Passengers will start using the temporary stations when trains return to the line on Wednesday 12 May.

Bell Street will remain open to traffic during the construction, although there will be some local road closures and pedestrian access changes in the area.

As works are underway in Preston, the community is encouraged to get involved in the ‘GO Preston... Shop Local’ campaign ahead of Mother’s Day, celebrating the creativity and diversity of local small businesses. Shoppers at participating stores can scan a QR code for their chance to win a local shopping voucher.

The four level crossings at Preston will be gone, and the new stations open by the end of 2022, with the open space ready for the community to enjoy in 2023.

Disruptions to train services on the Mernda line will be kept to a minimum during construction, with works planned so that the rail line will never close for more than two weeks at a time.

For more information about the project, including road closures in the area, visit levelcrossings.vic.gov.au.