DRIVERS looking to avoid the Ballarat Station interchange might have to search for a new rat run this week with rail bridge works getting underway on the Armstrong Street Bridge.
The works are part of preparations for the Murray Basin Rail Project which will see 1.2km of single track rail be duplicated, allowing a fifth-daily services to Ararat and also pave the way for more services to Maryborough.
The state government is spending $130 million to allow broad gauge passenger services and single gauge freight trains to be separated around Ballarat Station, allowing for more efficient use of the platforms and fewer hold-up periods.
The project will also allow up to 65 return freight services to run from the Murray Basin region through Ballarat with the use of the Ararat and Maryborough loop.
However the duplication will mean significant works are required on the Armstrong Street Bridge to allow for the extra track to be laid.
The Freight Passenger Rail Separation Project is scheduled for completion in late 2020. Funding for the project was included in the 2018/19 State Budget. Full details relating to closures of the Armstrong Street Bridge are yet to be finalised. Regional Rail Revival project director Mark Havryluk previously told The Courier the process of dissecting public transport rail from freight in Ballarat would ease the way for more passenger services.
“The Freight-Passenger Rail Separation Project will ensure that we maximise the benefits of the Murray Basin Rail Project and the Ballarat Line Upgrade – that makes it possible for more passenger services in the future and dedicated pathways for freight to the ports,” he said.
V/Line and Rail Projects Victoria are now in charge of the build.
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