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Case Study | High Street Level Crossing Removal Project

Project Description: 

The High Street Level Crossing Removal Project was part of the wider Level Crossing Removal Project’s (LXRP) program of works to remove 75 of the most dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne by 2025. The High street level crossing was removed and replaced with a rail over road solution, which included the construction of 800m of twin elevated bridge and a new premium station. The project was delivered by the North Western Program Alliance, which is made up of LXRP, John Holland, KBR and Metro Trains Melbourne.

High Street is one of the key arterial roads which connects Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs.  The intersection between High Street, Spring street and Reservoir station, where six roads meet at level crossing, was regarded as one of Melbourne’s most congested roads. Before the level crossing was removed, the boom gates were down for 24 minutes during morning peak time, impacting 36,000 vehicles which passed through it each day.  The core benefits of removing the level crossing was the improvement to safety, reduction in congestion and improvement in travel time reliability.

1 Reservoir Station, High Street Reservoir

2 Elevated rail bridge over High street & Spring street intersection at Reservoir station after level crossing was removed

Key Achievements: 
Project sustainability highlights include:
  • >90% reduction in lifecycle water demand
  • 45% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy efficient practices
  • 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from material reduction
  • Improvement of community connectivity, visual amenity and ecological value
  • Enhancement of local heritage values through box culvert heritage feature
  • Implementation of state first innovations & initiatives that improve sustainability outcomes
Key Highlights: 
Highlight 1: Water reduction

The project achieved a significant 90% reduction in water consumption across the asset lifetime.
These significant savings were  achieved largely through the native planting palette, which omitted ongoing irrigation requirements, and water efficient fixtures and fittings installed at station.

The Project substituted 92% of eligible non- potable water through installation of rainwater tanks (construction & operational phase) and opting to use non-potable water for NDD activities wherever possible.

3 Native planting palette at station precinct

Highlight 2: Energy and Carbon Reduction 

The project achieved an overall reduction of 45.8% in GHG emissions due energy efficiency over the lifetime of the asset.
These significant savings were predominately achieved through the following initiatives:

Operational Phase:
  • Widespread implementation of energy efficient fixtures & fittings such as LED lighting in the station precinct
  • Reduction of As Built building footprint compared to the base case design
Construction phase:
  • Fuel savings from energy efficient construction practices
  • Renewable energy technology utilised for site use such as biodiesel generators and solar signs & traffic lights
4 Energy efficient LED lighting throughout station & precinct

Highlight 3: Materials Reduction

The project implemented a number of initiatives to reduce material greenhouse gas emissions by 20%:
  • Specification of recycled/alternative sustainable materials in design packages and procurement contracts. (E.g. Fly Ash & Slag in concrete, Crushed concrete in lieu of virgin crushed rock) 
  • Implementation of innovative engineering practices such as U-troughs and Monopiles, which uses less material compared to BAU systems such as T-beams or pile caps.
  • Introducing material reuse initiatives, leading to materiality savings (e.g. spoil from site reused as general fill, piling pads reused in retaining walls and CSR trenches).

Highlight 4: Connectivity & Urban Design 

The level crossing was situated between the two commercial and retail precincts of Reservoir Village and Broadway street. ​Before the removal of the level crossing, the rail network formed a major movement barrier between the two precincts. This restricted pedestrian, cycle and vehicle access and resulted in many residents only using commercial facilities on one side of the crossing.
​The project united Reservoir's two retail centres by creating direct road access and constructing a new station precinct and civic plaza. This provided Reservoir residents a vibrant community hub with active transport links, which promoted walking and cycling through the precinct and into retail centres. ​

​The twin rail viaducts created a light, open space underneath the structure which improves visual amenity. Formal pedestrian pathways, lighting and shared user pathways enhanced community safety and were designed in line with a detailed Safety in Design Process considering CPTED principles. The station's transparent canopy, landscaping and canopy treatments provides a sense of identity and arrival to Reservoir.

The project enhanced the ecological value of the site by 32% by transforming previously disturbed railway corridor land into landscaped areas.  Native planting in the civic plaza and station precinct increased green space and visual amenity of the station precinct.  ​

5 Station precinct & civil plaza provides access to previously disconnected retail precincts on each side of the station

Highlight 5: Enhancing local heritage values

During preparation for the landscaping works in February 2020 on the north of the project, the construction team discovered a timber box culvert, likely constructed in 1889 in conjunction with the laying of the original railway track for the purpose of managing the flow of water on either side of the railway line. The discovery was reported to Heritage Victoria and a ‘Consent to Damage’ permit (i.e. permission to demolish & remove) was issued to the project.

Instead of demolishing the box culvert from site, the construction team utilised the opportunity to showcase this discovery as a heritage feature. The timber from the culvert was treated with an epoxy resin and anti-graffiti coating and was installed in the station precinct. A plaque was installed next to the feature which describes the local heritage value of the culvert to passers-by to educate and inform the community of its historical significance.

6 Heritage box culvert landscaping feature at station precinct

Highlight 6: Innovations & Initiatives

The High Street project trialled and implemented several innovations & initiatives during the project:

  • Glass fines in concrete trial (Victorian first) – A trial was conducted in partnership with Sustainability Victoria, University of Melbourne and Hanson to replace sand in concrete with unwashed recycled glass fines. The trial was conducted in the station shared user path, and the results demonstrate the viability of the use of this waste stream. The results of this trial have been provided to the wider industry to inform the upgrade of VicRoads standards to reuse a waste product in concrete.  
  • Remote energy & water monitoring (Victorian first) - Innovative metering and monitoring technology installed at Reservoir station gives asset operator, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), the capability to remotely monitor the water and energy performance of Reservoir station in real-time. Reservoir station is the first station in the MTM network to implement this technology which will allow the operator to recognise trends of wasteful resource use to improve efficiency.   
  • Use of Monopiles in a passenger railway asset (Victorian first) - Due to limited workspace and rail occupation period, an innovative monopiling substructure system was utilised for 30 of the 32 piers in the Reservoir rail bridge. This monopiling system saved over 1123.7 m3 of concrete and 250 tonnes of reinforcing steel, contributing to significant project materials savings. Furthermore, the monopiling systems was less time consuming to construct, which resulted in energy efficiencies and less disruption to the community.  
  • GPS Tracking of Large Structural Elements - Typically, delivery information of large structural elements is coordinated through sporadic phone calls between the site team and suppliers which results in inefficiencies when delays and issues are encountered during delivery. To create a more seamless solution, GPS/4G trackers were individually placed on large structural elements using magnets (such as on L beams and rail bridge components) to enable real time tracking from production to site. This initiative resulted in energy savings from efficient use of plant & equipment and allowed the team to immediately identify any delivery issues to reduce community disruptions on local roads.  

7 Diagram showcasing construction process of rail bridge. Steps 1-3 describes monopiling method

8 Monopiling method used in the construction of the rail bridge

9 Recycled glass fines trial conducted at shared user path

It is acknowledged that this achievement has been the result of close collaboration and inputs from multiple stakeholders including:
  • Leadership by the Level Crossing Removal Project as the client, and Metro Trains Melbourne as the asset operator, in collaboration with Alliance partners John Holland and KBR
  • Knowledge and innovation sharing facilitated by the Level Crossing Removal Project with other Alliances delivering level crossing removals across Melbourne

“We always look for ways to work with our stakeholders and delivery partners to make sustainability an integral part of how we plan, design and deliver infrastructure. Reservoir Station is a great example of this approach and one we aim to repeat across all our projects.
We’re all so proud of this great achievement. Everyone who worked on the High Street project has been committed to building a sustainable station for the community to enjoy for years to come.”

Fin Robertson
Sustainability Manager
Level Crossing Removals Project (LXRP)