The Melbourne Airport Rail Link is one step closer to becoming a reality following the announcement of concept designs for a new rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River. 550m long and 50m high, the bridge will become the second highest in the state.
The new rail bridge will be built next to the current bridge over the Maribyrnong, which was opened in 1929 and is heritage listed. Other designs also include elevated twin tracks between Sunshine and the Albion Junction.
Although not fully costed as of yet, the state and federal governments have committed $5 billion each to the construction of the network that would link regional trains to the airport as well as link in with pre-existing lines in the city. It's estimated to cost between $8 billion and $13 billion.
It will allow commuters to travel from the airport to the heart of Melbourne in 30 minutes.
“We know how long people have been waiting to see Melbourne Airport Rail become a reality, and these concept designs show just how much progress is happening on this transformational project,” the Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said.
Fletcher said the development of the “state-of-the-art airport connection” would provide about 8000 construction jobs.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the elevated rail solution would prevent costly and disruptive impacts to major roads in the area.
“Works from Sunshine to Albion will form an important part of Melbourne Airport Rail, with Sunshine becoming a key station for airport services and other regional and metro lines,” Allan said.
“These improvements will make travelling through Sunshine easier, [when] the number of trains and passengers increase after the completion of projects such as the new Metro Tunnel, the Sunbury line upgrade and Melbourne Airport Rail.”
Consultation on the alignment was under way with key stakeholders including councils, communities and Heritage Victoria. Construction on the project was expected to start next year subsequent to approval of the project.
Melbourne Airport Rail is due for completion in 2029.
Images via The Urban Developer