Things have moved on a lot since then. Labor was voted in with a policy of grade separating 50 level crossings in 8 years (20 in their first 4 year term). And you’d have to give them credit for storming ahead on this.
So here’s an update of the list. I’ve tried to include the latest status of the various projects completed, underway or pledged – and where I could find the information, I’ve also included which side funded them.
(This is an embedded Google Drive document… Use the scroll bar at the right to move through the list. Hopefully it works okay. If not, try here.)
- 7. Werribee Street, Werribee. Since the ALCAM evaluation almost ten years ago, the number of trains has dropped markedly due to Regional Rail Link opening in 2015, meaning a new list would place this much further down.
- 57. Fitzgerald Road, Ardeer and 115. Station Road (Mt Derrimut Rd), Deer Park: If the list was being evaluated today, these would both rank higher, especially the latter, due to RRL moving lots of trains away from Werribee and onto this line. Derrimut has also had huge residential development in the last ten years.
- 91. Eel Race Road, Carrum is being permanently closed at the railway line, with an extension of Macleod Road under the railway line instead, because most of the traffic is actually heading to/from Macleod Road.
- 111. Park Road, Cheltenham wasn’t on the list, but was added due to proximity with Charman Road.
Most of the status info is gleaned from the official Level Crossings list. Funding information was found via trawling old media releases and budget papers. “Planning funding” means money was allocated to plan a grade separation, but not to do the actual work (which obviously cost more). As I find more/corrected info, I’ll add it.
I’d originally also wanted to include the cost of each project, but this is difficult in some cases, because multiple projects have been rolled into one. The complexity also varies widely. Many include stations, but some don’t. Some have related local upgrades bundled into the cost. I’ll save that for another time.
Updates to ALCAM
The ranking shown is almost ten years old now, so a refreshed list of crossings would be shorter… but if there is one, it’s not public.
Bearing that in mind, as of September 2017:
- The top 5 have all been removed
- Of the top 10, 9 of these are expected to be done in coming years (see below).
- Of the top 20, 16 are on the list and expected to be done in coming years.
How many per year?
“Year” on the list means year completed, with it obviously being the expected year for the crossings not yet done. Some of them say “by 2022”, meaning they might move forward. And some projects don’t yet have public end dates.
With that in mind, how does it look year-on-year? If they all finish on time, it looks like 2018 is going to be a bumper year… just in time for the election!
In fact, if all of those scheduled for 2018 come in before the election, Labor will have achieved their goal of 20 in their first term, with 23 actually completed. We’ll see what happens.
Which missed out?
In the list I’ve highlighted those with no status, eg they aren’t currently on the list of crossings to be grade separated.
Remember, the Level Crossing Removal Authority didn’t choose which crossings are getting removed, and which are missing out. The list was selected by the ALP when they formulated their policy in 2013-14.
Some worth noting that missed out are:
- 9. Macaulay Road, Kensington might be difficult because it’s on a hill; the easiest solution of elevating the road over the line would obliterate the shopping centre. It’s also nearby to the elevated Citylink tollway, and the Moonee Ponds Creek, though perhaps not so close they would cause issues? — unlike number 77, also on Macaulay Road, which is sandwiched between the creek and the tollway.
- 15. Union Road, Surrey Hills, the scene of a double fatality a year ago, and one of the last two remaining crossings on the busy City to Ringwood line (the other is ranked 88, Mont Albert Road)
- 19. Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing, next to the Werribee Mercy Hospital, and in the middle of a fast-growing suburb, with far more suburban trains than ten years ago
- 75. Glen Huntly Road, Glenhuntly. Not ranked very high on the ALCAM safety list, but one of the prime causes of delays to Frankston line trains and route 67 trams alike. It along with nearby Neerim Road (ranked 152) would need to be done as one project, but would remove the last crossings between the City and Moorabbin.
My hope is that many that missed out in the initial list of 50 will be added for removal post-2022, and that government will see what the benefits of keeping this program rolling until more crossings are grade separated right across Melbourne — particularly the rest of those in the top 50 most dangerous.