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Business fears eased on metro rail

13 Aug 2015

Business fears eased on metro rail Image

The news was not as grim as many members of the Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) had expected at its Melbourne Metro Rail information session at St Johns Southgate on Friday, July 10.

While the YRBA had been of the understanding that the project would force the closure of Princes Bridge during its construction, Melbourne Metro Rail Authority CEO Evan Tattersall assured members that this would not be the case.

However, Mr Tattersall said proposed works to route Melbourne’s main north-south tram service along Flinders and Elizabeth streets would see likely disruption to pedestrian flow to north bank via the Flinders St underpass.

In welcoming the early consultation by the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, YRBA executive officer Tim Bracher said while the disruption wasn’t ideal, it did present an opportunity to upgrade the underpass.  

“It would appear that the only disruption may be the works to the section of Flinders St, between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, where the main north-south tram line for the CBD is going to be located for the duration of construction,” he said.

“This could make it more difficult for pedestrians to access Southbank via the railway underpass.”

“On the other hand, we’re hoping that Metro will take the opportunity to completely upgrade the Flinders Street Station-Elizabeth Street pedestrian underpass, which has become a major embarrassment to Melbourne.”

The State Government announced a $100 million plan to repair and renovate Flinders St Station in April, which included restoration of the underpass.

The Melbourne Metro Rail’s nine-kilometre rail tunnels will travel from South Kensington, through Swanston St, under the Yarra River and onto South Yarra.

Mr Tattersall informed members that the tunnels would be an entirely separate section of the rail network and would include a state of the art system comprised of advanced rolling stock and signalling.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen announced in August that the government had chosen tunneling as its preferred method for the crossing underneath the Yarra River.

Minister Allen said tunnel-boring machines would be used to excavate the two rail tunnels between the new CBD South station near St Paul’s Cathedral and Domain Station on St Kilda Rd.

She reassured local businesses that other techniques, such as damming or dredging, would have caused significant disruption to the river and its surrounds.

“Tunnelling under the Yarra will reduce disruption to the environment and local businesses,” she said.

“The use of tunnel boring machines will reduce the environmental impact on the river and limit inconvenience to business, pedestrians and commuters.”  

While the government is yet to finalise its business case for the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, Premier Andrews said construction was still on schedule to commence in 2018.

Community consultation is now underway, with the government inviting members of the public to take part in an online survey until August 28.

To have your say visit

www.mmrailproject.vic.gov.au/survey

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