Len Waddell is a man with a plan to tackle Wyndham’s traffic and rail woes – by going underground.
The Werribee engineer of nearly 60 years, and fellow engineer Geoff Rogers, believe an underground railway line east of Hoppers Crossing to west of Galvin Road is the way to go.
Their plans follow the state government’s announcement this month that it would fast-track removing the Old Geelong Road, Werribee Street and Cherry Street level crossings to be completed by the end of 2022.
Mr Waddell and Mr Rogers propose connecting the existing line at Hoppers Crossing with an 8.5 kilometre tunnel to a major interchange at a new ‘Manor’ station linking the Geelong regional rail lines.
“It would open up the township and un-clutter the Cherry and Werribee street crossings as well as Hoppers and Brophy’s Crossing [now Galvin Road],” Mr Waddell said.
The government’s preferred design to remove the Old Geelong Road crossing is to build a road bridge over the rail line, east of the existing crossing, connecting the Princes Highway to Old Geelong Road and Heaths Road.
At Cherry Street, the preferred design would also include a new road bridge built east of the existing crossing, linking Tarneit Road to the Princes Highway (via the irrigation channel next to Wyndham council’s offices).
The preferred design to remove the Werribee Street level crossing is to elevate the railway line over the road, with a rail bridge over the street.
Mr Waddell said a tunnel would mean less interruptions during construction, no land acquisition and more investment, employment and tourism opportunities.
He and Mr Rogers drew inspiration from similar rail projects in Perth and London for their proposal which would involve building underground stations at Racecourse/Bulbans roads and another at Galvin Road.
“We don’t want to look back in 20 years and wish the underground option had been taken up,” he said.
“The piecemeal options do nothing for the township apart from traffic relief.”
The Level Crossing Removal Authority is holding community drop-in sessions this Saturday, July 13 between 10am and 12.30pm and Tuesday, July 16 between 5pm and 7.30pm at Encore Events Centre in Hoppers Crossing.
See levelcrossings.vic.gov.au for details.