16 May 2017
Shovel Ready: Melbourne Infrastructure Update
The State Government this week have reiterated the importance and urgency for the Metro Rail Tunnel, as Melbourne’s population continues to expand at a rapid rate.
Now that the extra money has been confirmed, the State Government are committed to ensuring Victorians have a more efficient and reliable public transport system that establishes Melbourne as a city ready to take the leap into the future.
Considering that Victoria has been actively ignored by consecutive Federal Governments since the 1980s, the State Government has been forced to play catch-up, with an attitude of ‘now or never’. As a result, infrastructure is being improved rapidly across the state. This is another key reason of fast-forwarding the current works.
Along with commuters – children, parents and families are also being encouraged to take the train or tram. Unfortunately this can be ineffective if the services are deemed to be unreliable. The Metro Rail has had the same timetable for years, and trains are still often more than 5 minutes late, skipping stations, or even cancelled altogether.
An outlined timetable overhaul will keep regular commuters satisfied, and ensure less planning is needed for daily trips. Increased frequency across all Metro lines will contribute to the State Government’s ‘Turn Up and Go’ plan.
In the future, passengers are expected to rise exponentially across the network (such as an expected 71% rise on the Upfield line). This means that the current system will no longer be sufficient to hold the amount of passengers expected to use Metro trains. Demand continues to increase, and Metro must be upgraded to fit this demand.
To accommodate the Metro Rail Tunnel works, Acoustic sheds have also been installed across Melbourne, including over City Square. For residents and workers nearby, this means that while works are undertaken, disruption will be substantially reduced. The sheds are insulated, and will ensure sound and dust reduction, while also increasing safety for workers within the sheds.
Some of the works are still controversial. The Melbourne Metro Tunnel work itself isn’t without problems, such as trees that are planning to be removed near Melbourne University, for the sake of building the new Parkville train station. However, Reid Sexton, the spokesman for the Metro Rail Authority, claims that there is a plan to plant two trees for every one that needs to be removed during this project.
Detailed work is happening not only in the city, but also across the regional network. Along with the Metro Rail Tunnel, the level crossing removals, the increased efficiency in timetabling and the Regional Network Development Plan (RNDP), the State Government is also planning to roll out a general amenities upgrade across the regional rail network. State Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan says “This program will deliver the day-to-day upgrades that make a real difference – more parking at the local station, a secure place to lock your bike and better bus shelters so you’re not waiting in the rain.”
Considering how long these works have been needed, the current State Government have taken on a very large task to improve infrastructure across Victoria.
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Originally published March 14, 2017
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