Melbourne, Victoria: Politicians mark the start of work to grade-separate

11 Jul

Victoria’s Premier, Denis Napthine, and the state’s Transport Minister, Terry Mulder, have visited the Mitcham Road and Rooks Road level crossings in the Melbourne suburbs today to mark the start of work to eliminate these level crossing at the beginning of the month with completion expected in a year’s time.

The notoriety of these crossings reflects the fact that they can be closed to road to road traffic for nearly thirty minutes in an hour at peak times causing significant delay and disruption to community life. This is nothing new as the case for grade separating these crossings has been on the political radar for many years pending the allocation of funding.

Eliminating these crossings and a third on Springvale Road, Springvale comes with a steep price tag – AUD 350 million. This explains why at current rates of spending it will take a generation or more to eliminate the many level crossings in the Greater Melbourne area.

The Mitcham Road and Rooks Road level crossings have a significant accident history with two fatalities and numerous injuries in recent years. While the safety gain from grade separation is to be welcomed, this is incidental to the bigger picture issue of reducing congestion, improving traffic flow and securing a more reliable railway that head the list of day-to-day concerns. Were these just safety schemes there would be a spend of around AUD 100 million to prevent a fatality – very much in the grossly disproportionate region and thus a poor use of scarce government finance at a time when there remain larger benefits of spending on the wider highway infrastructure where the majority of fatal and serious injury road accidents are to be found.

2 Responses to “Melbourne, Victoria: Politicians mark the start of work to grade-separate”

  1. Andrew Fraser July 12, 2013 at 06:57 #

    Grossly disproportionate! Bravely spoken, but likely to provoke a torrent of abuse from anyone affected. One wonders, however, whether there might be some effective interim measure available. Is a link to the investigation reports possible?

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