Laying the tracks for new rail bridge

Teams are laying the tracks along the elevated rail bridge. Pictures: SUPPLIED

Pakenham’s new elevated rail bridge is continuing to take shape, with crews lifting in bridge beams and laying tracks for the new rail bridge.

The elevated rail bridge will replace level crossings at McGregor Road, Main Street and Racecourse Road, making journeys safer and easier for the 63,000 vehicles which travel through the crossings each day.

With beams already in place across McGregor Road and Main Street, the project team marked an important project milestone recently by craning 12 concrete L-beams into place across Racecourse Road.

Measuring more than 32 metres long and weighing up to 135 tonnes each, a total of 272 L-beams will be installed for the 2.5 kilometre bridge structure, joined together to form a U shape, known as a U-trough, which trains will run on when the rail bridge is completed in 2024.

While works continue to position the final 32 beams either side of Racecourse Road, crews marked another significant milestone by starting to install the 6500 sleepers and 7.8 kilometres of new rail track required for the bridge, along with 18,000 tonnes of ballast sourced from a local quarry.

As part of the Pakenham level crossing removal project, the Pakenham rail line is being extended by two kilometres, and a new East Pakenham Station is being built.

On the Pakenham line, 22 crossings are also being removed, making it boom gate-free by 2025.