Welcome back to Connolly’s Corner folks and let me start by wishing you all a happy new year and a joyous festive season.
I’d like to start the year off by commemorating one of the biggest achievements in our community this term becoming a reality just a few weeks ago – the removal of the Old Geelong Road Level Crossing.
With 18,000 vehicles driving through the boom gates every day, we all knew this crossing had to go. During morning peaks, these boom gates would be down for up to 36% of the time. From 7:00 to 9:00 in the morning, that’s roughly 43 minutes and 12 seconds that cars would be stuck listening to those boom gate bells screech. And let’s not forget that frustration felt whenever it turned out to be a freight train that could be trickling through for a good five minutes. But now with the crossing gone, it has never been easier to get onto the Princes Freeway or back into Hoppers.
There were many who said that it wouldn’t be done. That the level crossing wouldn’t be removed until 2025 and it would be the last one done. That it was an empty promise from a Government that might not even be in power to deliver it. I’m pleased to be sitting here writing this, proving those doubts wrong – because this is a government that gets things done and delivers on its promises. The crossing was fast-tracked along with the other two level crossings in Werribee in 2019. Fast forward three years later, and Wyndham is now completely free of level crossings with final works taking place over the next few weeks. This will include the physically removal of the boom gates in February, and minor works on Old Geelong Road to improve traffic flow around the new bridge.
Commuters at Hoppers Crossing Station can also soon look forward to the completion of the new pedestrian overpass that will provide safe access to the station - so whether you’re rushing to get on a train or racing home after work, you can get to and from the platform without the hinderance of closing boom gates.
I’m also pleased to say that there’s more to come as we build new and upgrade old rail infrastructure. In 2023, works laying additional tracks alongside the Werribee line for Geelong Fast Rail services will begin. This will not only provide Wyndham commuters with greater access to Geelong via the Werribee line, but will also reduce pressure on the Wyndham Vale line meaning more dedicated services to Tarneit Station and Wyndham Vale station that aren’t shared with commuters from Geelong.
As we head towards the State Election at the end of this year, you’ll hear a lot more from me both about what the Andrews Government has delivered for our community, and everything that is still to come as we get on with the job of building for the future – not just today.