Aurizon closes dangerous Queensland crossings

Hundreds of recent near misses involving coal trains and motorists have forced Aurizon to close risky level crossings

Aurizon closes dangerous Queensland crossings
Aurizon closes dangerous crossings
May 22, 2013

A spate of 'near misses' involving coal trains and motorists have forced rail freight operator Aurizon to permanently close two high-risk level crossings in Queensland.

Aurizon this week announced two
level crossings in central Queensland will permanently close
after the
official opening of the Gracemere overpass on Friday, May 24.

Aurizon will close the Somerset and Malchi Road level crossings where more than 100 central Queensland motorists have
come close to crashing with trains in the past two years, according to Aurizon.

25 near misses occurred in 2012 alone, despite extensive community education campaigns and the installation of CCTV to raise awareness about the danger of level crossings.

About 110 near misses occurred at the crossings in 2011.

Aurizon Safety Health and Environment Senior Vice President Neil Backer says closing the level crossings will improve the safety of motorists and train crew.

But he says Aurizon continues to explore the closure of high-risk crossings where they are no longer needed.

"When a motor vehicle collides with a 10,000 tonne coal train at 80 kilometres an hour, there is little forgiveness,"
Backer says in a statement.

Aurizon has appealed to motorists to observe all warning signs, lights and boom gates at level crossings.

Aurizon contributed
$10 million to
transport department
toward the $50 million cost to construct the Gracemere overpass.

It will be utilised for all future access to and from the Gracemere industrial area.

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