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Level crossings a hot topic in Victoria

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> A year out from the state election, Victoria’s Government and Opposition are squabbling about the removal of level crossings across the state. </span> <p>The Victorian Opposition last week announced that it would remove 50 level crossings from the state’s road network within the next eight years if it won the election, which is scheduled for this time next year.</p><p>Opposition leader, Daniel Andrews, said his party’s plan would be a boost for public transport, and would remove bottlenecks on the road network.</p><p>“Over the past three years Victorian Labor has listened to thousands of Victorians and heard how traffic congestion and poor performing public transport affects their everyday lives,” Andrews said.</p><p>“By improving the local road network, removing dangerous level crossings and investing in public transport, Victorian Labor will ensure Melbourne’s suburbs remain liveable.”</p><p>Shadow minister for roads, Luke Donnellan, said 40 level crossings had already been identified for removal by Labor.</p><p>“Over the past decade there have been almost 200 level crossings crashes,” Donnellan said. “Sadly this has resulted in many deaths.</p><p>“The congestion caused by boom gates being down at level crossings creates major traffic delays and costs businesses millions in travel time.</p><p>“Removing 50 level crossings will increase safety and improve travel time for motorists and allow more train services to run during peak times.”</p><p>But Victoria’s premier, Denis Napthine, said the prospect of removing 50 level crossings in just eight years was a flawed plan.</p><p>He said such a plan would cause too much trouble in the short term, and that his party’s East West Link road plan was a more viable one to reducing congestion.</p><p>“What they are proposing in the west is an absolute slap in the face to the people of the western suburbs,” Napthine told local radio channel 3AW. “It would cause enormous chaos on our roads and rail. When you do a level crossing, you have to minimise the disruption.&quot</p>