The first rail bridge beam has been installed over Abbotts Road in a major milestone to remove another dangerous level crossing in Melbourne’s south-east.

Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams today visited the Dandenong South site to inspect the huge concrete U-trough beam – one of 15 in total that will form the new single-track rail bridge over the Abbotts Road level crossing.

Taking around 22,000 vehicles each weekday, the busy bottleneck has sadly been a scene of tragedy over the past decade, with two serious collisions between a train and a vehicle resulting in fatalities – one in 2008 and another in 2012.

With the much-needed separation between road and rail now well underway, the new rail bridge design ensures that enough space remains for both a potential future rail duplication above and road duplication beneath.

Overnight road closures over just a few nights have allowed the project team to safely complete the initial beam installation over the road, with this process minimising disruption to local traffic and allowing trains to continue running along the Cranbourne line.

The temporary road closures have also assisted preparations for future beam installations on either side of the road, with a gantry crane helping to lift the beams into place on top of concrete columns.

The new rail bridge design is the same Australian-first method being used on several level crossing removal projects, including at Kororoit Creek Road at Williamstown North, Skye/Overton Road at Frankston and along the Mernda Rail Extension Project.

In total, 30 L-shaped concrete segments up to 31 metres long will be transported overnight to the Abbotts Road site, before being craned into place and joined together in pairs to form the U-trough viaducts that trains will eventually run inside.

Piling works – driving pre-constructed concrete foundations deep into the ground to hold up the new bridge – began on site in April and works are progressing well, with the boom gates to be gone later this year.

For disruption information and to find your Plan B travel option, visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au