In an effort to ease Melbourne’s traffic congestion, sky train will be introduced in the nine-metre-high elevated track along Melbourne’s busiest Cranbourne-Pakenham line. The AU$1.6 billion project was formally announced on Saturday.
Under the sky train project, nine level crossings along the Cranbourne-Pakenham line will be removed. The project will also replace three sections of the line, lying along the Dandenong railway corridor with elevated tracks.
Floated in early 2016, the sky train project will also free up vast chunks of open space. The elevated tracks will have barricades to stop train commuters from looking down to houses and backyards, reports ABC News. The construction of the sky rail will start in a few months. Five new stations at Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Clayton and Noble Park will be created under the sky project.
“This is going to significantly reduce road congestion. Some of these boom gates are down for up to 87 minutes in every two-hour morning peak period,” Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said.
Premier Daniel Andrews hailed the project as the advent of quieter rail line. “Every single level crossing between Caulfield and Dandenong will become history,” he said.
“This tired and ugly rail corridor will become one of Melbourne’s largest community open spaces, with room for parks, playgrounds, netball courts and thousands of new car parks,” Andrews said.
However, the Sky train proposal has drawn the flak of many local residents. On Saturday, they held a community meeting in Murrumbeena Park to thrash out an action plan to stop the project from advancing, reports The Age.
“No Sky Rail” president Karlee Browning said there are grave safety concerns around the sky train proposal. Browning, whose residence is just one metre away from the existing railway corridor, said at least 200 houses in her neighbourhood would be affected. The residents are planning to submit a mass petition to the government. She said they would make it known to the government that “2200 people to date do not want this.”
“The residents have had no consultation, they have not been asked, they have had no say,” Browning alleged. The sky train project was also slammed by the state opposition when it was first mooted as a cost-cutting measure and a means to end level crossings. The opposition said the sky rail would only create some vulgar “eyesores” and end up dividing the neighbourhoods.