Installing ramps at Hoppers Crossing station as part of the Old Geelong Road level crossing removal is “not feasible”, according to the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP).
The level crossing at Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing is being removed as part of a $355.5 million state government project.
The project will result in the existing crossing being closed to traffic and a new road built over the rail line, connecting Princes Highway to Old Geelong Road.
After the crossing is removed, pedestrians and cyclists will access the station via a new overpass, which will be accessible via oversized lifts or stairs.
Residents and Wyndham council have raised concerns that people with mobility aids, senior citizens, parents with prams, cyclists and others will not be able access the station platform, and have called for station access ramps to be included in the project.
But according to LXRP, the construction of ramps is not feasible, and if included would remove 50 car spaces at the station and nearby shopping precinct, and generate significant additional costs and closures.
LXRP chief executive Kevin Devlin said the project had faced space constraints.
“We’re constrained by land at that… site – existing properties and businesses,” he said.
“Ramps take up a lot of space and given there are other access points along the corridor to cross, we felt that [lifts were] a suitable response in that location.
“Lift reliability has increased dramatically [but] if there was a short term issue… there are other crossing points.”
Mr Devlin said disability and other mobility access had been considered in the removal plan.
“We are providing disability access by building a new overpass at the station… at Old Geelong Road,” Mr Devlin said.
“While there’s not ramps directly at that Old Geelong Road location… there are multiple points of access along the corridor that we’re linking up, including the extra overpass with stairs and lifts.”
LXRP project director Tony Hedley said: “The community has been overwhelmingly supportive of this project to remove the level crossing at Old Geelong Road and construct a modern overpass for pedestrians and cyclists, with backup power and two large lifts”.
Bicycle Network senior policy advisor Garry Brennan labelled planning for the crossing removal as”rushed”.
“…insufficient regard was given to how people on foot and on bikes get around the local area,” he said.
“Level Crossing projects are usually a good opportunity to improve facilities for active travel, however at Hoppers Crossing it was an opportunity missed.”
Wyndham Cycling Com representative Alan Page said he was concerned about the long-terms effects on the community of the decision to exclude ramps
“A simple pedestrian/cycling underpass at the tracks opposite Hoppers Station would have been a good solution,” Mr Page said.