FOOTSCRAY residents are one step closer to respite from rail noise following the release of a long-awaited 'noise plan'.
The state government's 'draft passenger rail infrastructure noise policy' includes "investigation thresholds" for passenger rail infrastructure of 85 decibels.
Current noise levels along the Footscray corridor already exceed the flagged trigger point, making it likely noise abatement measures will be incorporated into Regional Rail Link (RRL) works.
Fair-go for Footscray Rail Residents spokesman Nick Fahey said he hoped Transport Minister Terry Mulder would give the Regional Rail Link Authority (RRLA) the go-ahead to begin noise mitigation work immediately. "We are cautiously pleased to see they have adopted these trigger levels and to see that this long-term policy has come out of our fight," he said.
The investigation thresholds will not limit noise to a maximum level. Steps to cut noise experienced by residents could include double glazing or construction of barriers or cuttings.
An RRLA spokeswoman said the policy would apply once finalised.
"The Regional Rail Link Authority will ensure that any additional noise mitigation resulting from application of the policy will be able to be incorporated into the project."
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the policy was in a draft for community and stakeholder input. "We expect the final policy to be released by the end of 2012."
Western suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland said:
"Footscray residents currently experience noise levels up to 105 decibels - 20 decibels above the policy's 85 decibel threshold."
The report has been released as construction work officially begins on the Footscray to Deer Park section of the RRL project.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese was yesterday joined by Gellibrand MP Nicola Roxon and Mr Mulder to mark the start of construction on the 7.5-kilometre section.