No skyrail for Bonbeach and Edithvale as government attempts to avert backlash
Summary: Victorians could end up paying more to remove levels crossings on the Frankston train line, after the Andrews government decided not to build "skyrail" in some of its most marginal suburbs in the hope of avoiding an electoral backlash.....
The Sunday Age can reveal that bayside communities in Edithvale and Bonbeach will get their wish to not have elevated rail near their homes, with the government set to announce that those key sections of the track will be lowered under the road.
However, a "hybrid" version of skyrail will be built in Seaford – where the government insists it is not feasible to lower the line due to the impact a trench would have on the Kananook creek and nearby wetlands – while an elevated bridge will also be built on a semi-industrial section of the line at Skye Road, towards the end of the train line.
The move to limit skyrail on certain parts of the Frankston line is likely be welcomed by some residents, and give an element of comfort to marginal seat Labor MPs Tim Richardson (Mordialloc), Sonya Kilkenny (Carrum) and Paul Edbrooke (Frankston).
"We've listened to the experts and the community to work out the best solution at each site," said Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan.
"Cost is only one factor in deciding how to remove a level crossing – it's also about what's feasible and what the community want."
Nonetheless, there are still likely to be political risks, because some campaigners believe the government's level crossing removals program should not at any stage involve elevated rail.
"Skyrail is an attack on people's livelihood and their number one asset: family homes, so I don't think it's going to go down well if you put it on any part of the Frankston line," said Cameron Howe, from the Carrum and Patterson Lakes forum.