THE road at Brighton’s New St gates rail crossing is going underground, with work expected to start next year.
A multi-million-dollar underpass will be constructed beneath the Sandringham train line to allow traffic to turn right from Beach Rd into New St.
The crossing was closed by the former Labor government after two accidents within 18 months. Brighton state Liberal MP Louise Asher said it would be unsafe to allow traffic to turn right across the tracks, so there was no point converting the former manual heritage-listed gates to electronic automated boom gates.
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She said State Government policy was to grade separate trains and traffic wherever possible.
“Going underground is the option, the trend is to put crossings underground,” Ms Asher said. “It is unsafe to reopen the gates - the option of boom (gates) was looked at, but no right turn would be allowed.
“We are hoping work will be starting next year.”
Ms Asher said no cost could be put on the large-scale project, but it would be well in excess of the $2 million already pledged.
She said more accurate budgeting would be available when results of soil testing, which was done last month, were known.
The gates were indefinitely closed in 2007 after a train crash.
In 2010, then Labor Transport Minister Martin Pakula declared they would stay shut permanently, angering many motorists.
New St gates campaigner Graeme Disney said a grade separation would be a great outcome. “If (this) can be achieved, it is a great solution,” Mr Disney said. “It opens up the access, which is vital.”
Hampton St is also set to undergo a revamp, with the State Government funding a project to resurface the busy retail strip next year.