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Mitchell Shire Council advocates for level crossing removal

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council voted unanimously to advocate for the removal of a level crossing at Watson Street, Wallan at last week’s council meeting.

With promised south-facing on and off ramps expected to be located near the level crossing, Cr David Lowe said the level crossing would be a ‘major hold up’ for road users as train use increases.

In 2021-22, 63,350 people used the train station, making it the 26th busiest regional station.

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“This seems like the perfect time to me to remove that level crossing and work out the planning to get traffic in and out of the station once that level crossing has been removed and the bridge placed in its place,” Cr Lowe said.

Mayor Fiona Stevens said the council would call on the Department of Transport and Planning to prioritise the crossing’s removal.

“Wallan is one of Victoria’s fastest-growing suburbs and we need action to remove this level crossing now to ensure timely traffic flow on our road network,” she said.

“Removing this crossing will improve safety, minimise congestion and allow for more trains as Wallan and surrounding areas welcome significant growth.”

Cr Rob Elridge said the level crossing removal was a ‘pivotal piece of the jigsaw’ of Wallan’s structural planning.

“We already have traffic banking up before we get any reasonable population growth,” he said.

“It is important we get the planning done to at least give some certainty.”

The motion noted that the level crossing removal would also support the long-term initiatives of Inland Rail and the recently announced Northern Intermodal Beveridge.

Inland Rail is a 1700km freight rail project connecting Melbourne to Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The project will enable use of double stacked 1800-meter-long trains, which will pass the Watson Street crossing on their way to Melbourne.

National Intermodal Corporation has secured land for the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal, which could be under construction by 2024-25 and is intended to be fully operational by 2028-29.

Once operational, the terminal will enable freight to be transferred from Victoria’s two largest ports of Melbourne and Geelong to the rest of Australia.

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