Level crossing removal to reduce traffic congestion

Decision to remove level crossings around Melbourne will ease traffic congestion, engineer says

By Ruza Zivkusic | May 5, 2011

The removal of Melbourne's 10 notorious level crossings is well overdue, a forensic engineer says.

Dr George Rechnitzer from Delta-V Experts has welcomed the Victorian Government’s decision to remove the crossings over the next four years.

The Government outlined the move in the Budget, which was handed down yesterday.

"Eliminating these crossings is the best solution. I think the government certainly has to be commended and there are other crossings that should be fixed as well but this is a good start," Rechnitzer says.

"I think the congestion that has been caused by these crossings has been unbelievable and such a waste. Eliminating crossings will help improve safety."

The $16.5 million project will be funded by 2013, allowing engineering studies and consultation with affected parties to identify preferred options.

Funding will also be used to develop business cases to ensure the project’s full costs are known before construction begins.

The total funding for the level crossing removal will be nearly $400 million, Transport Minister Terry Mulder says.

Level crossings in Bayswater, Ormond, Blackburn, Glen Iris, St Albans and Murrumbeena will be removed.

RACV manager for roads and traffic Peter Daly says motorists are frustrated by the growing congestion on the roads, which is exacerbated by the number of level crossings creating traffic gridlock.

"Ask any Melbournian what drives them mad about our city and congestion is usually number one," Daly says.

"The government in this budget has kept its promise to fix a number of level crossings. However, there is an enormous backlog.

"Melbourne has more than 180 level crossings and it’s a major factor in why congestion is increasing in our city."

The RACV wants a government commitment to remove five level crossings per year rather than two as outlined in the Budget.

Daly cites Murrumbeena Road as one of the most frustrating sections of road for motorists and says the RACV wants it fixed as soon as possible.

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