City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney has slammed the state government for not providing clear answers on reopening Lydiard Street, eight months after a train accident destroyed a set of heritage gates.
While a preliminary Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into the May 30 incident blamed a failure of the V/Line train's braking system - the full report is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021 - the state government has called for more time to decide how to replace the gates and reopen the street.
Cr Moloney said "enough is enough".
"I'm yet to hear a convincing position on safety that precisely outlines why the gates are still an issue," he said.
"Frankly this has gone on far too long, and action needs to take place - if this were a major thoroughfare in any other city, in Melbourne or Geelong or Bendigo, it would have been handled by now.
"We're going to clock up a year of inaction, and it's not good enough."
Speaking in Ballan on Monday, Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said safety is the state government's priority.
"I do appreciate the Ballarat community's really keen to see progress on a solution for the gates, from a movement around that part of Ballarat (perspective) and around historical aspects," she said.
"What's really important as we work towards the permanent, long-term solution for the gates and the broader station precinct, is that it's done safely.
"That's the work V/Line is doing in conjunction with the ATSB, we do have to wait for some further advice from them, because first and foremost, this is a safety issue."
She said deciding an outcome "will need more time", and discussions with stakeholders was ongoing.
"I think it's important not to diminish how critical that safety advice is, in operating a rail network safety is always our number one priority," she said.
"Live rail environments are dangerous places, that's why we're removing level crossings and upgrading tracks and stations.
"That advice is what needs to guide us through the longer term solution for the Lydiard Street gates.
"What happened last year with the incident at the gates is a very serious issue, it's of critical importance we understand the issues and also ... plan for what the long-term solution is with safety front and centre, as a priority for what the solution will be."
Cr Moloney said he was backing the council's position, and said he expected the gates to be fully reinstated.
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"They are unique to Lydiard Street, and possibly Victoria - but that's not an excuse to change the current situation, I would expect V/Line to start processes to really clearly articulate why they're unsafe, or gets on with it," he said.
"We don't want to ignore a genuine safety issue but no one has yet made that case.
"We want that road open as soon as possible - this would not be tolerated in Melbourne."
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