Confusion over Adamstown railway gates future – Newcastle Herald

By  BEN SMEE Civic Reporter

Oct. 5, 2012, midnight

THE NSW Government says it has no plans to close the troublesome Adamstown gates, despite its transport department’s own draft master plan listing the removal of the level crossing as an ‘‘immediate short-term’’ project.

The crossing, where freight and passenger trains cause regular traffic bottlenecks, has been earmarked for an overpass for more than 60 years.

The transport department said this week the crossing would be considered when the government completed a transport master plan for the Lower Hunter.

For now, traffic should just go around.

‘‘Transport for NSW is investigating ways to divert traffic from Adamstown railway level crossing and encourage motorists to use other routes,’’ a spokesman said.

‘‘A feasibility study will be undertaken to look at where warning signs could be located, investigate potential intersection upgrades and connections between road and rail network information systems.’’

The Infrastructure NSW strategy released this week has also raised doubt about the planned Fassifern to Hexham freight bypass that would drastically reduce wait times at Adamstown.

The strategy said the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor, which includes the bypass, would cost $6.8 billion and that further research would be needed to assess whether there was ‘‘a robust business case’’.

The Fassifern to Hexham bypass ‘‘appears of strategic merit’’, but is ‘‘costly relative to the benefits it offers’’, the report said.

The government’s draft long-term transport master plan highlights the need for the freight corridor and says Hunter projects were required in the short term to increase capacity.

‘‘These projects include the crossing loops at Awaba and the removal of the Adamstown level crossing.’’

In a statement this week, the department said there were ‘‘no plans’’ to remove the crossing.