It was announced this morning that the level crossings either side of Bayswater station at Scoresby Road and Mountain Highway are next in line to go.
In a noticeable shift from previously unveiled grade separation and station designs, the method chosen to grade separate will involve partially lowering the rail line and partially raising Mountain Highway. A full rail under road grade removal will occur at Scoresby Road.
Kevin Devlin, the CEO of the Level Crossing Removal authority explained this option was chosen in order to allow for the continuing use of the rail yards and maintenance depot which currently sits alongside Bayswater station. The maintenance depot is accessed from the main line at a junction right next to the Mountain Highway level crossing and this will be rebuilt at a lower grade as part of the overall works.
An alliance consisting of Laing O'Rourke, Fulton Hogan and Aecom have been confirmed as the preferred bidder with the cost of the entire project coming in at $177 million.
Bayswater station is currently an island platform with an underground pedestrian ramp providing passenger access in to the bus bay and car park. The new station will see an island platform accessed via an entry brought closer to Station Street with an overhead ramp, stairs and lift depositing passengers on the new platform sitting at a lower grade.
The Ringwood corridor and Belgrave branch are inching ever closer to being fully grade separated; when after all the announced projects have been completed only Union Road in Surrey Hills, Mont Albert Road near Mont Albert Station, Bedford Road in Ringwood, Alpine Street in Ferntree Gully and Hilltop Road in Upper Ferntree gully will remain as a level crossing.
Level Crossings that still exist on the Lilydale branch include Dublin Road in Ringwood East, Coolstore Road in Croydon, Manchester Road in Mooroolbark, Melba Avenue in Lilydale and Maroondah Highway at the terminus of the Lilydale line.
Manchester Road and Maroondah Highway are on the Victorian Government's list of 50 but have no news about their status has been announced as yet. Union Road and Mont Albert Road in Surrey Hills-Mont Albert are not on the list.
It will be an interesting exercise to monitor planning activity in the region given City of Knox have done extensive planning to focus development around the station precinct and the urban growth boundary is limiting any further suburban growth beyond the area (not to mention Mount Dandenong is a natural barrier for further fringe-belt growth).
The powers that be effectively locked the eastern suburbs of Melbourne away from further sprawling down the Yarra Valley into Yarra Glen and Healesville and up into the hills decades ago and the new housing stock in the entire region is a story of new medium and high density development at the major nodes on the Ringwood corridor. It makes sense that Bayswater should join them.