Northpark Road rail crossing will soon be fitted with barrier arms after KiwiRail approved the request from the Ashburton District Council yesterday.
KiwiRail and the Council have worked together since the beginning of the industrial park development with an expectation that upgrades to the crossing may be needed as traffic in the area grew.
In response to considerable community feedback, Council Chief Executive Andrew Dalziel and Ashburton District Mayor Angus McKay met with KiwiRail and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) representatives and presented a petition with nearly 4000 signatures calling for the installation of barrier arms along with bells and lights.
"It was a very positive and successful meeting and I can see closer co-operation between Ashburton District Council and KiwiRail on future projects in the district," says Mr McKay.
"The installation of barrier arms will be in addition to the work already underway by KiwiRail to install bells and lights at the Northpark Road rail crossing; and we will aim to have the work completed as fast as possible," says Peter Reidy, KiwiRail's Chief Executive.
Mr McKay says the installing the barrier arms is the right result and one the community was after.
The cost of installing bells, lights and barrier arms is being arranged by the Council and reimbursed by NZTA following agreement regarding this particular controlled rail crossing.
"This is an excellent result, one that has come about through a lot of hard work and co-operation from the organisations involved," says Mr McKay.
"KiwiRail has also briefed us about three other rail crossing upgrades planned for the district in coming years – Compton Street in Tinwald, the Delamaine Street crossing in Hinds and Winslow Westerfield Road crossing in Winslow."
The Northpark crossing has been the site of two fatalities – George Ellis was killed in July this year when his truck collided with a train, and in 2002 a motorcyclist was killed after being hit by a train.