Given your interest in the Hove Level Crossing Removal Project, I wanted to give you an update and clear up some misinformation that has been circulating in our local community.
Firstly, let me be really clear... no decision has been made on which solution is best for this problem nor has procurement commenced for the design and construction for the project.
As you’d be aware, grade separations of road and rail are a key safety focus of the National Rail Safety Regulator and as such we have been looking at how we can make this crossing and its surrounds safer. In February 2021 Infrastructure Australia (IA) released the Infrastructure Priority List which included “Adelaide Level crossings congestion and safety” priority initiative that identifies the priority for removal through Grade separation.
The Hove Level Crossing has around 35,000 vehicles through it each day and the boom gates are down around 20% of the time during the peak. With development and a growing population along the coast these numbers are only predicted to increase.
While this project was promised by the previous Labor Government, they never did the engineering work to identify the solution. In fact, they forecast a spend of under $200 million for the project but never budgeted for it and never stated if the solution was rail over, rail under or another option. Notably in recent weeks despite being asked Tom Koutsantonis still hasn’t said what Labor’s solution would be.
As you would also know we have had the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) do the geotechnical and engineering work over the past 12 months or so to thoroughly assess all options for a solution at this location.
The details, you have probably already seen and they are outlined on the DIT website which you can see at this link.
So now I’d like to address some of the key misinformation that is being circulated...
- You can build rail under without acquiring any homes. (This is NOT true... the DIT engineers inform me that because of the high water table and SA water pipes that run down Brighton Road there would need to be a cavity 10 metres deep to concrete and lay the track for rail under. Because of the water table a corridor wider than the existing rail corridor is needed to do that so between 25 and 45 properties would need to be acquired even if the track was severed at Hove for 12-18 months and shuttle buses used.
- You can build rail under and save the Norfolk pines along Addison Road. (This is NOT true... again for the same reason as above a wider corridor than the existing rail corridor is needed to build the 10-metre-deep rail-under corridor. The rail over option could possibly save some of the Norfolk pines but that is still not guaranteed.)
- You could cut off Brighton Road during the rail under build to save the childcare centres and revamped Old Town Hall. (This is NOT an option... Cutting off Brighton Road would destroy businesses and family’s livelihoods. It would separate families and communities from each other from sporting facilities, schools, churches and alike. Not to mention the impact on traffic in the side streets.)
There are other answers to questions (FAQ’s) on the website outlined above.
Another key consideration is obviously the cost of the project.
- Road over or road under have been costed at around $300 million but would take in the order of 60 properties to deliver.
- Rail over has been costed at around the same price ($290 million) but would require 5 properties.
- Rail under as outlined is costed at $450 million and would require between 25 and 45 properties.
(Note. All versions include acquiring the government owned housing trust property behind the Old Town Hall.)
Given we had initially budgeted around $170 million for the project more than $100 million would be needed and that would require a further commitment from the Federal and State Government which I’ve raised with the relevant Federal Minister and those discussions are ongoing.
So in my position as the local State Member and as the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, I have been considering all these factors around cost and impact on the community and traffic implication around the flow along Brighton Road, local back streets and overall community safety. Clearly this all needs full consideration on a number of levels which is what I’ve been doing.
Over the past 4 months through DIT there has been community engagement sessions where people could ask questions about the 4 concepts. There were follow up sessions in many cases there were personal sessions in people’s homes. There have been surveys in hard copy and online, I have met with a number of people personally. I’ve also received correspondence from people and businesses, key stakeholders including the City of Holdfast Bay have also been briefed, some members on multiple occasions.
It should also be noted while we have been looking at this project, DIT has begun a corridor planning study to look at further potential improvements to traffic flow along Brighton Road. We have reached out to the Council to determine their planning study for Council roads on the west side of Brighton Road which have also been raised with me as an issue and we look forward to seeing the Council’s proposals to improving traffic flow in the back streets and onto Brighton Road.
While I have received views from people supporting and opposing the Hove Level Crossing Removal Project for various reasons, as I stated earlier, unfortunately there has been some misinformation which I have tried to clarify above and further detail is outlined on the DIT website.
I note that someone started a “Say No to Hove Crossing” group but they have subsequently changed the name and have pushed out some very mixed messages. I’ve tried to clarify those key misconceptions here.
As I stated at the start, no decision has been made despite some of the wild claims and all factors relating to this project are being given due consideration.
I look forward to continuing to engage with all of my community on this and the other exciting projects I have completed like the Brighton Sports Complex and other projects I am delivering for our community like the multimillion dollar investments in our Schools and Kindergartens, the Repat Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre and other community and recreational spaces.
Corey Wingard MP
Member for Gibson