Green light for Temp gates plan

October 14, 2021 BY

Action?: Nearly 18 months after they were closed to road users, the level crossing near Ballarat Station could reopen soon. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

A NEW chapter in the lengthy saga that is the Lydiard Street North level crossing has been penned with Heritage Victoria giving the okay for temporary boom gates at the site.

The crossing over Lydiard Street has been closed to traffic since late May 2020 after an out-of-control V/Line train crashed into swing gates that were in still place across the southern tracks.

As part of Heritage Victoria’s approval for the works temporary solution, the remaining gates on the northern side of the level crossing will be removed, photographed, and have their details recorded before being stored somewhere in Wendouree.

They will then receive “regular inspections to ensure they do not deteriorate.”

While work has been ongoing at the site for several weeks, a statement released by the State Government said it has only been “preparatory” and aimed at finding existing cables and other underground services.

Now the thumbs up has been given for a temporary solution, the statement also said that the next three weeks will see signalling and foundation works for the boom gates.

“We know that getting Lydiard Street re-opened to traffic is of the highest importance to the Ballarat community,” said Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll.

“Approval of these plans means that we can get on with the job and re-open the road as quickly and as safely as possible.”

There’s still no confirmed timeframe for the reopening of the level crossing.

In this year’s State budget $10.5 million was set aside for a long-term fix to the issues created by the 30 May 2020 crash.

The State Government statement described the project as seeking, “modern safety standards while still paying tribute to the history of the Ballarat station precinct.”

As part of the system used to operate the old heritage gates, a button had to be pressed in a control room in Melbourne to get them to close.

It’s not clear what system will operate the temporary boom gates.

In October last year an interim Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into the crash found that a series of “wheel slip events” and breaking issues led to the train hitting the gates before they had closed.

The ATSB’s final report into the incident is yet to be released.

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