In detail: Level Crossing Removals

No two level crossing removal project sites are the same, and each presents its own challenges

With work now complete on the Burke Road crossing removal on the Glen Waverley line, John Holland teams are ramping up activities on the level crossings at North Road, McKinnon Road and Centre Road on the Frankston line.

Alliance Manager for the Level Crossing Removal Project, Stephen Litterick, said no two sites are the same, and each presents its own challenges:

The Burke Road site was dominated by high traffic volumes, constrained geometry and uniquely, a mix of tram, train and road.

With regard to the Frankston line, the sites contain an unprecedented scale of works which involve lowering the rail line in a cutting with an excavation volume of approximately 300,000m3.

This work will need to be carried out in a rail occupation of only five weeks to form the cutting and reinstate rail services seven metres below the current level. Such a scale has never been attempted before, with the excavation volume being almost four times the previous maximum.

The planning required to ensure these works happens seamlessly takes many months to coordinate, and then a dedicated team of people to ensure its success.

I can’t speak too highly of the teams that worked through an 16-day shutdown over the December/January period to complete the Burke Road works on time and without incident; our aim will be to repeat that approach on the next works.

A constant focus has been on identifying improvements and new ways of approaching work was required to successfully deliver these projects.

Our approach is a blend between using tried and tested ‘kit of parts’ and identifying innovations which address particular conditions at each site.

As an example, Giken piling rigs will be used on the Frankston line sites to install steel sheet piles which will form the retaining walls for the rail cuttings. The Giken machine uses an innovative ‘press in’ method which reduces the levels of noise and vibration experienced near residential and adjoining properties. This method can be used in the very narrow space between rail and property boundary to reduce rail disruption.

The Level Crossing removals are a combination of civil, rail and station construction works which mirrors John Holland’s Infrastructure, Rail and Building business groups.

These projects differ from other rail jobs because of the volume of civil works and station construction close to and within road environments.

Internal collaboration between the groups and our capability to self-perform a large part of the scope makes the projects a very comfortable fit with our business model and the skills of our people.