Experience counts at Hallam: engineer notches up seven level crossing removals

Salam Al-Mulla is up to his seventh level crossing removal site. 260298_04 Picture: SUPPLIED

Works to remove the dangerous and congested level crossing at Hallam are powering ahead, with one of the Level Crossing Removal Project’s most experienced engineers leading the way at the Hallam Road site.

Salam Al-Mulla has worked on seven level crossing removal projects since first starting as a site engineer when the project began in 2015 and has contributed immensely to the success of the project.

Al-Mulla said working on level crossing removals has given him the ability to develop skills across a broad range of areas thanks to the diverse nature of the work.

“In terms of personal and professional development, one thing that is great about level crossing removal projects, is that they provide exposure to a number of different disciplines,” he said.

“I have been involved with the rail systems, including signalling, and I have also delivered a number of civil, structural utility and station building works.

“These projects have given me numerous skills, which allow me to fulfill my role here at Hallam while also allowing others to learn from my experiences so they can take a step forward as I did, from site engineer to construction manager.”

From projects in St Albans, Blackburn, Caulfield, Dandenong, Lower Plenty, Heatherdale and now as a construction manager at Hallam, Sal – as he is known to his colleagues – has seen it all.

The role of the construction manager is key on any project site, but it is particularly important at level crossing removals where crews are often working in congested areas to complete the job as quickly and as safely as possible, with minimal disruption to train services or roads.

For Al-Mulla, this means ensuring the team is working well together so that the project is delivered safely, successfully and on time, producing positive outcomes and benefits for the community.

His engineering knowledge and level crossing removal experience is invaluable at the Hallam site, where crews are working to build a rail bridge over the road and a brand-new, elevated Hallam Station.

Level Crossing Removal Project chief executive Kevin Devlin said that people like Al-Mulla have been crucial to delivering the project.

“Getting rid of more than 50 level crossings in six years is no easy feat, but our team of dedicated workers, sub-contractors and suppliers have made this huge achievement into a reality and I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work since the very beginning,” Devlin said.

Sal’s contribution to the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines alone has been immense, not only through his work at Hallam Road, but also his work on the Caulfield to Dandenong project, which removed nine level crossings by building elevated rail.

He said being able to drive past these projects with his family and tell them he worked on them gave him immense pride.

“I feel extremely proud to be part of this and the benefits it has provided the community,” Al-Mulla said.

Works at the Hallam Road site will be completed in 2022, bringing the Pakenham line one step closer to being level crossing free by 2025.