City of Ballarat councillors will finally meet with Department of Transport representatives this Wednesday over how to reopen Lydiard Street.
One of the city's main thoroughfares, the street has been closed at the railway crossing following a train accident in May 2020.
Temporary barriers have been installed to replace heritage-listed railway gates, which were destroyed when a train's brakes failed.
Residents and businesses in the area have condemned the lack of action since, despite an interim report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau blaming the V/Line train's brakes and not the gates themselves.
The state government, which will be responsible for reopening the street, has consistently avoided making a decision on how it will be done, repeatedly stating the situation is "complicated".
Heritage Victoria confirmed it has not received any permit applications to reconstruct or install new gates, but had been advised by V/Line that all "remnant fabric" of the gates had been salvaged and stored.
City of Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said council would meet with representatives for a briefing on Wednesday, and council's position was for the heritage gates to be restored and reinstalled as soon as possible - Lydiard Street is a council-managed road, according to V/Line.
He said he had written to the Department of Transport demanding action.
"The Ballarat community is concerned and increasingly frustrated with the ongoing extended closure of the Lydiard Street crossing," the letter states.
"I write seeking an urgent update and action regarding at least an interim reopening solution, and a timetable for the permanent reopening of this important north-south corridor."
The meeting will be an important step forward, he told The Courier.
"We've always tried to be as reasonable as possible here - if there are genuine safety concerns that V/Line has, we want to hear them," he said.
"We're approaching nine months and we still haven't seen that safety position put by V/Line yet.
"It's one thing to hide behind an ATSB report, but if the ATSB have been clear that they don't see any impediment to V/Line forming a position on the gates, then it's pretty clear where the decision needs to be made."
He said temporary measures like mobile traffic lights with slower train speed limits could be discussed, but added the Ballarat community had been "more than generous in understanding it was an emergency situation in the early days, but we're a bit beyond that.
Save Our Station's Gerald Jenzen said he was pleased to hear about the meeting, "providing they give council some positive advice as to when things will be put back to normal."
"What we don't want is boom barriers, they'll end up being permanent - if that's the only alternative, we need an ironclad guarantee to the public that they are only temporary, and they need to set a timeframe, not just some time off in the future," he said.
IN THE NEWS
"It would also be good on behalf of the Department of Transport to actually tell the public, not just the council - the council have initiated this but I think the public deserves some sort of explanation publicly."
V/Line's number one priority remains safety, and a spokesperson said stakeholder discussions would be starting "within the coming weeks".
"This is a complex issue and it's important we focus on making the crossing as safe as possible, as well as taking into consideration the expectations of the community," they said in a statement - drivers can still use the grade separations at Peel and Armstrong streets to get around.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.