Brimbank Council has been calling for the fast-tracked removal of three level crossings along the Ballarat rail line at Station Road, Deer Park; Robinsons Road, Deer Park; and Fitzgerald Road, Sunshine West. It is also seeking a grade separation on the Sunbury line at Calder Park Drive.
Brimbank Council is waiting to hear whether dangerous and congested level crossings in Brimbank are amongst the 11 crossing removals still to be announced as election promises by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Mayor of Brimbank, Cr Margaret Giudice said: “It’s heartening to know that the Labor Party has pledged to remove another 25 of Melbourne’s most dangerous and congested level crossings by 2025.
“We’re hoping the three dangerous level crossings on the Ballarat line in Deer Park and Sunshine West, and one on the Sunbury line at Calder Park Drive, are on the list that will be announced in the coming weeks,” Cr Giudice said.
Brimbank Council last week welcomed Labor’s election commitment to invest in electrifying the Ballarat rail line from Southern Cross to Melton as part of its Western Rail Plan. The upgrade is in line with the advocacy work of the Ballarat Rail Action Committee, of which Council is a member.
“An upgrade to the rail line will mean the removal of these level crossings will be even more necessary,” Cr Giudice said.
“We are already experiencing a significant issue with the existing level crossings in Brimbank, without any line upgrades.
“On the Ballarat line, increased train frequencies and increasing traffic have created an urgent need for grade separations.
“Boom gates are down for 30-40 minutes per hour during morning peak times creating a traffic choke point.
“This includes periods of up to nine minutes where multiple trains are going through, including trains stopping at Deer Park, which means barrier gates are down for longer than necessary.
“The roads are so heavily congested in peak periods that drivers are becoming frustrated and can display erratic driving behaviour. This increases the risks for all road users.
“Buses also face substantial delays at the Station Road and Fitzgerald Road crossings,” Cr Giudice said.
“Council has received numerous complaints from community members expressing their concern with the current situation,” Cr Giudice said.
Council recently delivered a community petition signed by 3000 locals to the office of Member for St Albans, Natalie Suleyman calling for the removal of these level crossings.
In addition to issues along the Ballarat line, regular boom gate closures at the level crossing on Calder Park Drive – along the Sunbury line – are causing large queues of traffic as cars exit from the Calder Freeway. This traffic frequently backs up more than 2kms onto the Calder Freeway, slowing freeway traffic and causing a significant safety issue.
“We’ve already seen how the State Government’s rail crossing removal program can benefit the community and we’d now like this program extended to include the removal of these level crossings,” Cr Giudice said.
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