Safety concerns trigger road closure

Workers on-site at Evans Road earlier this year. Picture: LEVEL CROSSING REMOVAL PROJECT

By Brendan Rees

A road connecting traffic to Merinda Park train station will temporarily close at a busy intersection until signalisation occurs.

Casey Council chair administrator Noelene Duff said following a safety audit, Merinda Park Boulevard would temporarily close at the Evans Road and Boland Drive intersection in Cranbourne North until it was signalised.

It comes as fast-tracked works at the Evans Road level crossing removal including a new road bridge was set to be completed this year.

Once Evans Road reopens between Thompsons Road and South Gippsland Highway, traffic is expected to significantly increase to in excess of 15,000 vehicles per day.

Speaking at a council meeting on 19 May, Ms Duff agreed with council officers’ recommendation to temporary close Merinda Park Boulevard “to ensure that intersection operates safely”.

“It’s quite clear in the documentation that the activity around this intersection is going to increase with the level crossing removal and the signalisation of the intersection is vital,” she said.

“The upgrade of that intersection is going to be triggered by the development of the land in the southeast corner of the intersection. The timeframe for that is not yet absolutely clear.”

Ms Duff acknowledged the road closure would impact motorists but added “the assessment is that it can be managed effectively and safely … and that there are alternative travel routes that can be accessed.”

Evans Road has been closed at the level crossing since 2005, dividing the communities of Lyndhurst, Lynbrook and Cranbourne West, forcing drivers to take lengthy detours.

Council documents revealed the increase in travel time due to the road closure would be “minimal and is considered acceptable” with Thompsons Road being an alternative route to the train station.

“During construction there have been several safety incidents at the intersection predominantly due to poor driver behaviour from motorists on Boland Drive,” a council report stated.

Bollards and concrete jersey barriers with supporting signage will be set up to indicate the closure to road users.

Council will also post a mail-out notifying property owners and tenants of nearby properties to the intersection about the planned closure.

Level Crossing Removal Project major road project alliance program director Andrew Pepplinkhouse said removing the Evans Road level crossing would improve safety and restore a vital road connection  in the fast-growing communities of Lyndhurst and Cranbourne.

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to deliver the best outcome for the community,” he said.

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