The Andrews Labor Government will remove two of the worst level crossings in Melbourne’s east months ahead of schedule and open new train stations at Mooroolbark and Lilydale early, thanks to a massive construction blitz that will kick off mid-year.

A team of over 650 workers is building new rail bridges over the roads to remove the dangerous and congested level crossings at Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale – as well as delivering new modern, elevated train stations.

More than 53,000 vehicles travel through these level crossings each day where the boom gates can be down for up to a quarter of the morning peak – with the crossing seeing a serious collision and five near misses in recent years.

From mid-July, an intensive period of construction will see Mooroolbark station close for up to four months, and Lilydale Station close in September for up to six weeks – as well as some temporary road disruptions and replacement buses between Ringwood and Lilydale for a week in July.

This short disruption will be followed by a longer closure of the rail line later in the year as crews work around the clock to remove the boom gates and open the new stations.

The construction blitz – which is an alternative to rolling closures spread out over a long period of time – will see both sets of boom gates gone well ahead of the previous 2022, and passengers catching trains from the new stations before Christmas.

The new station buildings are being pre-fabricated offsite using a modular approach that cuts three months of work to just two weeks. Part of the existing Mooroolbark Station will be relocated and refurbished by students at Box Hill TAFE, before it goes to the Heritage Yarra Valley Tourist Railway for the community to enjoy into the future.

The new multideck carpark at Mooroolbark Station will be complete in 2022, doubling capacity to 900 parking spots for commuters.

This project is part of the Labor Government’s major upgrades along the Belgrave and Lilydale lines that have already seen level crossings removed in Blackburn, Bayswater and Mitcham – with a total of eight level crossings to be removed along the line, paving the way for more trains, more often.

The Government is removing 75 level crossings by 2025, with 46 already gone for good – and one level crossing being removed on average each month in 2021.

Quote attributable to Acting Premier and Member for Monbulk James Merlino

“Locals want these boom gates gone for good as soon as possible – so that’s exactly what we’re doing. Our new modern, elevated stations will make a huge difference to thousands of commuters in Melbourne’s east every day”.

Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“Christmas really is coming early to Lilydale and Mooroolbark – we’re getting rid of these dangerous and congested level crossings early, cutting traffic chaos for more than 50,000 vehicles every day.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“This project is set to transform our local area – we’d like to thank the community for their patience while we complete these works, and for all their feedback on the design for our new station precincts.”