Railway and road waiting for a fix
WITH Lydiard Street’s heritage rail gates looking to remain closed into at least early 2021, drivers will continue to be forced to detour around the site, potentially leading to longer travel times and degradation of side streets.
Although late last year it was revealed that the railway crossing would reopen to traffic in March at the earliest, there’s been no further confirmation on this timeline.
A spokesperson from V/Line said that although the organisation apologises to motorists for the inconvenience while the current traffic management remains in place, safety is still the priority.
“We understand the significance of the crossing and the heritage gates and work continues to determine the best and safest way forward,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working closely with the Department of Transport and will ensure Heritage Victoria, the City of Ballarat and the local community are kept updated as this process progresses.
“The pedestrian crossing remains accessible to pedestrians and trains are safely able to travel through the intersection, with cars using the nearby grade separations at Peel and Armstrong streets.”
May this year will mark one year since the rail gates were destroyed in an accident which saw a V/Line train fail to stop at the station and continue through the crossing at 93kph.
During a press conference late last year, acting V/Line CEO Gary Liddle said he was waiting for a full report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to identify the best and safest way of opening.
“Our priority’s getting a safe outcome,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Victorian Government, Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said the matter was V/Line
responsibility and that their investigations are ongoing.
“Safety is our number one priority and investigations continue to determine the best options for the future,” she said.
“I know the community has a strong interest in the Lydiard Street level crossing and I thank them for their patience and understanding while this important work progresses.”
In addition to the issue of the ongoing closure of the rail gates, extensive road damage is appearing along nearby side streets like Doveton Crescent where part of one lane has been closed off due to surface degradation.
According to the City of Ballarat, works at this location are on the municipality’s major patch program and set to be completed this financial year.
Without specifically addressing the damage along Doveton Crescent, the V/Line spokesperson also added that while the assessments continue, measures are in place to address safety issues.
“We have taken additional steps to ensure the safety of services in the area,” the spokesperson said.
“[That includes] closing the crossing with traffic management in place and introducing a reduced speed limit as trains approach Ballarat Station.”