Melbourne Metro Rail – December 2015 update

Notes from session with Melbourne Metro Rail

December 1, 2015

 

Last night the Owners Corp Committee had a private briefing with the Metro Rail team.  Metro Rail were represented by

  • James Tonkin – Director Communications and Stakeholder Relations
  • Simon Adams – Precinct Manager – Domain and South Yarra
  • Danielle Koroneos – Communications and Stakeholder Relations Advisor

We were impressed by the seniority of the representation and the level of details they shared with us.  Whilst we may not like all they are doing, they were very engaging and open to our suggestions / thoughts.

Summary

  • Designs discussed are the ‘preferred’ option but subject to formal approval processes and feedback from bidding parties.
  • The project will commence in earnest in 2018 but a LOT of preparatory work will be done beforehand. This includes moving sewer lines, power lines, telecommunications links and the like.
  • Domain tram stop will move to ‘our’ side of Domain Road.
  • Toorak Rd tram stop will be converted to a Super-Stop (This will eventually be done to all tram stops to meet disability legislation)
  • Our tram stop will go.
  • The new underground Domain train station will be more complex than the other new stations as it will have nothing above ground. Other stations have room for some ‘plant’ above ground, there is no room at Domain Station.
  • Whilst much of the work will be done by Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), the Domain Station (and most of the others) will be done via what is called ‘cut and fill’. This means that they will dig a big hole (roughly 300m long * 25 m wide) outside our apartment block.  They actually drop the TBMs into this hole and then tunnel from there towards the other new stations.
  • Waste material is conveyed up to a waste site. For our area the site will be Edward Herring Oval in Domain Road.  Domain Road will be closed for a number of years during the construction period.  The tunnelling will be 24 hours per day but should not be noticeable from the surface.
  • Hours of non tunnelling operation have yet to be confirmed but they are very well aware of resident impact.
  • It is possible that another waste site may be constructed at Fawkner Park.
  • During the construction period (3-4 years) vehicle and tram traffic will continue in St Kilda Rd but lanes will be reduced. The greater the traffic reduction the shorter the construction time period.  The current thoughts are to divert the trams to the far side service road opposite our building but then the near side service road on the city side of Park St.  Will depend on angle of curves for the trams.
  • VicRoads are pushing them to make changes that will minimise the impact of the extra traffic on Kings Way, Punt Rd. Not sure how you do that??
  • One design issue that we gave strong feedback was the Domain Station emergency exit. Their current design shows the exit as being immediately in front of our building.  They are not sure what it will look like but we told them we would object strongly to any exit in front of 400 St Kilda Rd.  They conceded that it could be in Bowen Crescent or perhaps even in Bromby St near the Royce.  They noted that Bromby St is probably preferable in an emergency and better than having people exit onto St Kilda Rd.
  • External venting of the tunnels has not been finalised but they will be in the centre of St Kilda Rd. As the trains are electric they will not be venting diesel or similarly odorous exhausts.
  • A number of trees will be removed and replaced. They have discovered that many of the trees are in poor health and replacement trees are preferable than replanting.  We stressed the desire for mature trees.
  • Power for the station and for the trains themselves will be via dedicated feeds. This is important and means it will not cause our substation in the basement car park to require an upgrade.
  • We requested that they ensure that significant work is not done (and then wasted) on potential new bicycle lanes in St Kilda Rd.
  • Number 8 tram will be diverted during the construction period. It will continue west along Toorak Rd and turn right into St Kilda Rd.
  • They did not realise that our two driveways were for different carparks. This has now been noted.  They said it was very unlikely that we would have extended periods without access.  There may be periods during a day but not overnight.  In the unlikely event it was necessary, we would be given fair notice and alternative parking would be arranged.

 

As Chairman of the Committee I was very pleased with the level of engagement but well aware that it is critical that we all stay abreast of the project.  The Committee also has agreed in principle that we will use modest professional assistance to table any formal comments on the design.  This is likely to occur in mid-2016.

Before public comments close (around mid-2016) it is likely that we will request that Metro Rail make a presentation to all owners / residents.

There is a great video of the London version – very similar.  Search for “The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway Urban Heart Surgery” and open the YouTube link.

These are my notes and recollections of the points made during the session, they are not intended to be the answer to everyone’s questions.  Feel free to send me an email at buckgw@gmail.com or contact Metro Rail directly

 

Gary Buck

Chairman Owners Corp

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