Mr CARBINES (Ivanhoe) (10:04:33) — A major 44‑day construction blitz will fast‑track the Hurstbridge line upgrade, delivering a new track, a new Rosanna station and two level crossing removals six months earlier than planned. I was pleased to join the Minister for Public Transport in Heidelberg to announce that combining two rail closures previously scheduled for January and May 2018 into one 44‑day construction blitz will mean less disruption and earlier benefits for communities along the Hurstbridge line.
The major construction blitz will begin in mid‑March 2018 and run until the end of April, part of which coincides with the school holidays at the end of term 1, when roads and public transport are quieter. At the end of the construction blitz the brand‑new Rosanna station will be open to commuters, and trains and cars will be safely separated for the very first time at Lower Plenty Road in Rosanna and Grange Road in Alphington, with those dangerous level crossings gone for good. As part of the works a new tunnel is being excavated under Darebin Street in Heidelberg that will be home to part of the new section of duplicated track, also due to open at the end of April. I was pleased to inspect those works last Monday.
The two level crossings being removed are among Melbourne’s worst, with boom gates down for more than 40 minutes during the two‑hour morning peak, causing frustration and delays for around 43 000 drivers every day. The project will support a massive 1000 jobs during peak construction. In the lead‑up to the major construction blitz there will be shorter Hurstbridge line closures over the weekend of 9 and 10 December and from 18 to 23 January.
I want to thank the construction workers for their huge efforts and neighbours and commuters for their patience. As a Rosanna resident using the bus replacement service on most days, I know that it will be worth it for our community. In Ivanhoe it is high‑vis central: we are getting on with the job.