Council renews commitment to level crossing
Central Coast Council has renewed its commitment to work with Transport NSW and the Roads and Maritime Services to achieve a "positive outcome" with the Rawson Rd rail level crossing.
The level crossing was the site of a fatality on January 17 which highlighted the decision made by both Central Coast Council and Transport for NSW to shelve plans to replace the level crossing.
The Central Coast Council released a statement renewing its commitment to finding a solution for the community.
"The State Government originally committed $52 million in funding for the removal of the rail level crossing at Rawson Rd and to provide a new road underpass at the base of Bulls Hill," the statement said.
The plan was to connect Woy Woy Rd to Nagari Rd.
The traffic underpass was proposed in addition to the construction of a pedestrian underpass from Railway St to Waterview Cres.
"The original design for the underpass was rejected by Transport for NSW, due to the impact the works would have on the northern rail line," the statement said.
"Intermittent closures were required for critical construction works scheduled over several weekends," the statement said.
"The pedestrian underpass was completed by Council as part of this project in 2015 and taken over by the Transport NSW to be managed by the RMS.
"An alternate design, for the underpass was developed by Transport NSW and costed $115 million."
The Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald, said the recent fatality on the level crossing would not affect what, if any, next steps would be taken by the NSW Government or Central Coast Council.
A major stumbling block continued to be that both Railway St and Rawson Rd were not state but local roads.
"In terms of any State roads, I am happy to put my hand on my heart and say we will have more state road funding go into this area," Mr MacDonald said.
"But that was a local government road and the Council came to us for help and the costing went up to $115 million and that wasn't satisfactory from any point of view," he said.
Mr MacDonald said in order to argue for any sort of upgrade to the intersection or solution for the level crossing within the NSW Cabinet, he needed to see leadership from Central Coast Council.
"For me, it is very much about I need a helping hand from Council to say this is what we want to do and this is the final contribution we need from State Government and not something that is going to blow out.
"I have not got a confidence about that figure of $115 million.
"I don't know whether the scope of works was final and I don't know whether RMS has got any confidence about that figure."
It is unlikely for local roads to be reclassified as State roads, he said.
He said the best strategy available to the Central Coast Council would be to strike up a memorandum of understanding with the State Government for funding based on the road being a significant transport and rail corridor.
Mr MacDonald said it was Council's responsibility to ensure adequate infrastructure was in place as the Peninsula's population grew through the redevelopment of areas from low- to medium-density residential.
"I would hope Council would be very mindful that they have adequate road capacity or that they have spoken to the State Government for support.
"If they are local government roads then they have to have the developer contributions to build up that infrastructure.
"If they haven't got those developer contributions, it is a failure of planning.
Media statement, 24 Jan 2017
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Interview, 2 Feb 2017
Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast
Reporter: Jackie Pearson