The drive to and from work is set to get a little less frustrating for a number of Greek Australians living in Melbourne’s south east, as the state government announces nine level crossings will be removed.
Those living in the vicinity of the Cranbourne-Pakenham trainline, namely in the suburbs of Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Clayton and Noble Park, will be the first to benefit from the government’s proposed level crossing removals.
While 50 level crossings have been earmarked to be removed over the next seven years, the south-east has been the first to get up and running.
“I live in the south-east so I know the level crossings nightmare all too well,” Premier Daniel Andrews says.
“The boom gates between Dandenong and Caulfield stay down for up to 80 minutes over the morning peak. If we don’t act now, transport in the south-east will eventually grind to a halt.”
Removing the level crossings was an integral election promise for the Labor government, but their decision to start with the south-east has angered many Greek Australians in the north.
According to the 2014 report ‘Northern Horizons – 50 year infrastructure strategy for Melbourne’s North’, northern roads have the slowest travel speeds in the morning and evening peak periods compared to other Melbourne regions and the longest travel time delays.
The third most congested and dangerous rail level crossing in Melbourne is in the Reservoir area, where close to 3,000 Greek speakers live.
Moreland City councillor Lambros Tapinos says it’s regrettable that the government chose to start in the south-east.
“Although it is disappointing that none of the northern crossings have been announced in the first go, we’re optimistic that the government will fund the removal of the rail crossings in the north … in the next lot of announcements,” he says.
Moreland City Council has prepared detailed designs for the level crossing removals, and says it’s ready to get the process underway once the government announces the funds.
The Labor government will also purchase 37 next generation, high-capacity trains that will partly be built in the state.