Evans Road in the South-East of Melbourne was the first level crossing removed as part of the government’s Cranbourne Line Upgrade which, by 2025, will see every crossing removed between Cranbourne and the city.
The road had been closed to through-traffic, so with the removal of the level crossing and intersection improvements, this vital road connection has been restored for locals.
The new road and bridge are part of the Victorian Government’s program to remove level crossings to create better road and rail connections, boost safety and ease congestion.
Evans Road is one of many sites that has benefited from Aurecon’s multidisciplinary expertise to engineer and plan level crossing removals. Metropolitan Roads Program Alliance, consisting of three organisations: Fulton Hogan, Level Crossing Removal Project and Metro Trains Melbourne, delivered the level crossing removal.
With a new 620-metre bridge that achieves grade separation, communities have a safer and faster road connection to important services such as shops and schools. The bridge length also makes provision for the duplication of the rail line beneath it.
Aurecon provided a full package of engineering services for the detailed design and construction of the grade separation.
Stakeholder and community engagement conducted by the client contributed to the multi-criteria analysis used to identify the preferred design option during the functional design and business case phases of the project.
Modelling the impacts of the adjacent road network, combined with the pedestrian movement surveys, contributed to the final route design decision.
Particular emphasis was placed on visually-appealing urban design and landscaping outcomes for the community to enjoy their travels.
The final design enhances pedestrian safety in the area with a shared walking and cycling path incorporated into the bridge and road works. Visual screens installed along each side of the bridge provide privacy for adjoining properties.
The road upgrade improves driver safety by providing connections to the existing intersections, with adjoining roads and a direct crossing over the rail line, for faster access to nearby suburbs and services.
A significant engineering challenge to overcome on the grade separation was poor ground conditions, with the area subject to settlement from construction of the road embankments. To keep settlement within acceptable limits, Aurecon incorporated ground improvement works into the design to remove and replace existing low strength materials immediately below the road embankments.
To minimise the footprint of the embankments, reinforced soil retaining walls were constructed along one side. More than 135,000 tonnes of locally-sourced compacted fill was used to construct the ground improvement works and the approach embankments.
The ground conditions necessitated piled, fully-retaining abutments in order to support the bridge deck spanning 30 metres over the rail corridor. The bridge deck includes seven, 1500-millimetre deep, Super-T prestressed and precast concrete beams, each weighing more than 60 tonnes.
In the construction of the grade separation, 450 tonnes of Australian-made steel and more than 3000 cubic metres of locally sourced concrete were used.
A major city floodway also runs east to west, to the north of the rail corridor. Working collaboratively with the local water authority, and preparing a flood model of the area, larger culverts were constructed beneath the road embankments to transfer flood water beneath the road. This ensures that the upgraded infrastructure does not cause adverse effects on the community during flood events.
The level crossing upgrades, together with the Metro Tunnel Project, will pave the way for more trains more often, a more reliable train network, and 45 per cent more peak capacity on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
Aurecon has worked closely with VicRoads, the Level Crossing Removal Project, local councils and Alliance and construction partners to manage State Government approvals to facilitate the removal of level crossings, and delivery of new stations and public open space at 19 of the 39 sites to date.
This included the planning and delivery of removals at Furlong, Main, Blackburn and Heatherdale Roads as well as the multi-award winning Caulfield to Dandenong, plus the delivery at Evans Road and Cardinia. Aurecon has also provided the planning of Burke and North Roads as well as Bayswater (Mountain Highway and Scoresby Road).
Aurecon is currently completing the delivery of Fitzgerald and Robinsons Roads. Navigating the complex planning approvals, and delivering solutions that improve connectivity, is critical for the timely delivery of the Victorian Government’s commitment to increase public safety, facilitate micro-economic efficiencies via improved traffic flow, increase connectivity and revitalise communities.
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