Bayswater crossings delay worry

A FATAL collision between a truck and a passenger train in Dandenong South has revived concerns over two Bayswater level crossings that are years away from being upgraded.

Bayswater MP Heidi Victoria confirmed that fixing the notorious crossings on Scoresby Road and Mountain Highway would be a commitment for the 2014 state election.

The Scoresby Road level crossing was assessed in 2008 as among the worst 50 crossings in Melbourne. The Mountain Highway crossing was ranked at 87th among about 170 metropolitan crossings.

Following the Dandenong South incident involving a prime mover and a suburban train, Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton called on the state government to revive the program to eliminate Victoria’s level crossings. A passenger on the train was killed, and 13 others were injured.

Mr Morton said it was a tragedy that should never have happened. ‘‘The main safety advantage of grade separations is for pedestrians who are otherwise motivated to take risks with level crossing gates, particularly those next to stations. But there is also a clear safety advantage in the avoidance of train-vehicle collisions,’’ he said.

The government claims each grade separation would cost more than $150 million, but Mr Morton rejected those estimates — he said a separation at Boronia station in 1998 was completed in four weeks for $28 million. Ms Victoria said the Bayswater project was complex because two dual grade separations had never been completed — ‘‘it’s a whole new beast’’.

She said engineers had submitted plans and several logistical amendments were currently being made. She said no money had been allocated for works to begin on the project, but would be if the Baillieu government was re-elected in 2014.

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