Over half of the 75 level crossings planned for removal by 2025 in Melbourne have been taken out.
The 38th crossing was removed as part of works on the Frankston line in August. The most recent crossing to go were at Charman and Park roads in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.
The next level crossings to be removed and get the project closer to the 75 target will be on the Upfield line, as work there progresses and the current blitz finishes in November. Crossings at Bell Street, Munro Street, Reynard Street, and Moreland Road will be removed.
While removing the crossings has been a key goal of the project, there have been many other associated benefits for commuters and the local community. So far, 20 stations have been renewed through upgrades, and three stations have been added as part of the Mernda Rail Extension.
Safety has also been a key goal. At the planned for removal level crossings, 30 people have lost their lives and there have been 800 near misses since 2005.
Travel times are already seeing improvements, with time spent in traffic cut by half in some areas where level crossings have been removed.
Finally, new open spaces and pedestrian and cycling connections have been created, with the newly elevated rail lines sometimes serving to protect and shade new play areas underneath. The newly created open space is equivalent to 14 MCGs and the length of the new walking and cycling paths stretches over 45 kilometres. In Cheltenham, the former station building has been repurposed as a community facility in Cheltenham Park. The heritage listed station building will be a multi-purpose facility in plans put forward by the Bayside City Council.
While COVID-19 restrictions have been in place at all construction sites, the Level Crossing Removal Project has continued throughout the pandemic, keeping 5,000 workers in jobs and on site. Since construction began in 2015, 44 million hours have been worked across the project.