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Near-lethal rail crossing on wait-list for revamp

By Mathew Dearnaley, Nicholas Jones

The railway crossing which nearly claimed the life of a woman had been identified by authorities as a top priority for removal.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said just over $1 million had been allocated for investigation and design work to remove three rail level crossings.

Crossings at Morningside, Manuroa Rd in Takanini and St Judes St in Avondale were marked as priorities for removal and replacement with an over or under pass.

Mr Hannan said the three crossings were flagged after a full safety and operation review of all Auckland rail crossings was carried out in 2011.

Advocates yesterday said the dangers of the Morningside Drive level crossing and others in the city had long been known, but bureaucracy had meant action had been stymied for years.

"Auckland Transport and KiwiRail should stop worrying about who is paying for what, go 50/50 and just repair these crossings," said Disability Strategic Advisory Group chair Huhana Hickey.

"Don't muck around that it's going to be $5 million or whatever. It needs doing now, not in 10 years' time. Do it now," Dr Hickey said.

A woman remains in critical condition in Auckland Hospital after being hit by a freight train on the Morningside crossing just after 9am on Monday.

Her electric wheelchair had become jammed on the tracks.

KiwiRail spokeswoman Kimberley Brady said gaps on the pedestrian pathway at Morningside had been temporarily fixed. She said all level crossings nationally had been risk-assessed and ranked on a priority risk to be upgraded.

Morningside was not on the priority list as it had been upgraded in 2011.

Trouble spots

Complaints to KiwiRail about the following crossings:

* Sarawia St (says issues have been addressed)
* Glenview Rd, Glen Eden (says currently being assessed)
* Manuroa Rd, Takanini (says issues have been addressed)

Auckland Transport says top priorities for removal of rail level crossings are:

* Manuroa Rd, Takanini
* St Judes, Avondale
* Morningside Drive.

- NZ Herald

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