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Safety around level rail crossings to be improved

Safety around level rail crossings to be improved

Changes to level rail crossings throughout the city need to be made to improve safety and increase transport efficiency, Auckland City’s Transport Committee agreed at its meeting today.

“Even though there have been few accidents relating to road and rail in the city recently, we must prepare for the increase in rail services across the region. We need to act in the interests of safety, therefore we have agreed to eliminate level crossings as a matter of policy,” says Councillor Greg McKeown, Transport Committee chairperson.

Auckland’s regional rail business plan aims to increase rail service by reducing the current 30 minute interval down to 10 minutes during the peak periods, by 2007. Additionally, the introduction of electrified rail will see requirements for safe clearance change.

“It is desirable for road and rail traffic to be separated, either by closures or grade separation. The steady increase in road traffic combined with the planned significant increase in rail service will markedly increase the potential for crashes.

“The increase of rail service will impact on 16 of the city’s level rail crossings, excluding the Onehunga Industrial Branch Line. We need to begin work on safety measures now to reduce the risk and future proof the road network,” says Mr McKeown.

The 16 high priority rail crossings have been identified along the North Auckland and Auckland Newmarket lines.

Auckland City will work with New Zealand Railways Corporation, Trackco, Auckland Regional Council and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) to develop and implement safe and efficient alternatives for the city’s level rail crossings.

Recommended changes to the level rail crossings are estimated to cost a total of $51.56 million. It is the council’s view that this cost should be covered within budgets for the planned regional rail upgrades.

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