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VICTORIA'S most dangerous level crossing — which the State Government has left largely untouched since coming to power in 1999 — is set to be removed in a complex engineering project to be carried out just months before the 2010 state election. Engineers Parsons Brinckerhoff last week won a contract from VicRoads and Connex to work on a grade separation, a crossing that uses an underpass or overpass, to fix the notorious Nunawading intersection, just near the corner of Springvale and Whitehorse roads.
The Rudd Government has so far given $1.5 million to the project, and has promised $80 million.
The project is likely to start in January 2010 and cost about $120 million.
The grade separation will take about a month to complete and will be highly disruptive for drivers and rail commuters, who will be forced onto buses while work is under way.
More than 125,000 cars cross the intersection each day, and traffic queues and delays are made worse by boom gate "down time" at the railway crossing.
A spokeswoman for Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky yesterday confirmed the Government was working with the Federal Government and Whitehorse Council on a study for the grade separation. She could not confirm a timetable for the project.
The intersection was also yesterday voted Melbourne's most congested driving "red spot", in the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria's Redspot Survey.
The survey of 6500 road users pinpointed 2500 intersections across the state that drivers believed were extremely congested. The Nunawading crossing was named the worst congestion point in the state for the second time in the survey, last published in 2006.
The lack of action by the State Government on that intersection and others was "exasperating", the RACV's group's chief engineer, Peter Daly, said.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu also hit out at the delay. "It has been nearly nine years and they just haven't done anything," Mr Baillieu said.
The Liberals pledged at the last state election to build a grade separation at the intersection.
Source: "The Age"
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