Wyndham level crossings endanger commuters, says council

Lengthy delays at level crossings are putting the safety and prosperity of residents in outer western Melbourne at risk, a local council says.

Boom gates at Wyndham level crossings are typically closed between 12 and 35 minutes in the hour during peak times, according to a new report from Wyndham CityCouncil.

Mayor Bob Fairclough said it was common to see cars lining the streets for 400 metres in the morning peak as they tried to cross the railway tracks next to Hoppers Crossing Station.

The long delays at level crossings posed a safety risk to commuters, he said.

“We’ve had accidents and near misses. People get impatient, they do U-turns to get out of the queue, they get stuck between the boom gates.”

The council wants state government funding to replace four level crossings on the Werribee railway line with tunnels underneath the tracks, or bridges over them.

Two other crossings, at Forsyth Road and Derrimut Road, were already separated but their capacity needed to be expanded as more people took to the roads, it said.

Home to 200,000 people in 2014, Wyndham, which includes Werribee and the surrounding area, is forecast to grow to more than 341,000 in 2031.

Traffic crossing the Werribee line in the area will nearly double by the middle of the century, the council found, and as the number of train services also increased, the capacity of six out of seven road crossings would be exceeded.

The report said there was one railway crossing every 1.8 kilometres in Wyndham, compared with an average of one each kilometre across the rest of Melbourne excluding the inner suburbs – so the area would also need new crossings.

With the renovation of each crossing likely to cost between $60 million and $100 million, Cr Fairclough admitted getting funding for all the work was likely to prove difficult.

But he said the streets of Wyndham and satellite roads in and out of the area would only become further gridlocked if no action was taken.

The state opposition has promised to replace 50 level crossings with over or underpasses. Of the 43 announced, two are in Wyndham – at Cherry Street and Werribee Street in Werribee.

Public Transport minister Terry Mulder said the government had significantly improved public transport in the outer west, including adding 1400 bus services for Point Cook and last week promising 800 more bus services per week for Wyndham.

But it had not committed to removing Wyndham’s level crossings.

The RACV and Public Transport Users Association will join the council in launching the report on Wednesday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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