By Oliver Lees
Works to remove Sunbury’s Gap Road level crossing have been put on hold as a two-week shutdown of the construction industry in parts of Victoria has brought many infrastructure projects to a standstill.
The shutdown, which applies to metropolitan Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and the Mitchell shire, was put in place on Monday last week following violent protests outside the city office of construction union CFMEU’s.
The protesters gathered in opposition to the state government’s mandate which required all construction workers to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 23 if they wished to continue working.
Star Weekly reported last week that the Rail Infrastructure Alliance had been awarded the contract to soon begin the major works involved in replacing the level crossing at Gap Road in Sunbury.
This includes using piling rigs to dig beneath the existing tracks in order to create a road under the train line.
Sunbury Line Upgrade and Gap Road Level Crossing Removal package director Damian Brizzi said the construction ban will impact the works in Sunbury.
“Like all metropolitan Melbourne construction sites, the Gap Road level crossing removal site will be temporarily closed for two weeks from 21 September to help keep our workers, the construction industry and the broader Victorian community COVIDSafe,” Mr Brizzi said.
“People might notice some limited activity on the project site while our crews work to shut the construction site down safely and maintain the ongoing security of the area.”
Master Builders Victoria chief executive officer Rebecca Casson said the construction shut down was a bitter blow to the industry’s workers.
“We understand the position the Victorian Government is in. However, we can also see the frustration that this decision brings, especially shutting down our industry one day after announcing a roadmap to COVID-normal,” Ms Casson said.
A Rail Projects Victoria spokesperson said the Gap Road level crossing work site will reopen on October 5 and that any cost implications were still being worked out with the project’s contractors.