Boom gates operate at Witney Street rail crossing
By GLEN PORTEOUSglenp@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
THE Witney Street boom gates are finished and ready for operation.
After much campaigning, budget deliberations and construction hold-ups, the long awaited railway crossing opened yesterday.
The push for the boom gates came about after an accident which killed 81-year-old Joe Rogers almost four years ago.
Six months before the tragedy, Gladstone City Councillor Matt Burnett called for boom gates to be installed at the fateful crossing.
But yesterday Queensland Rail workers were all smiles at the opening of the boom gates, which had been delayed after they were originally scheduled for completion in December last year.
A Queensland Rail spokesperson said the upgrade included new and more effective Light Emitting Diodes (LED) flashing lights and boom gates.
The spokesperson said there would also be monthly inspections carried out as a component of the ongoing maintenance program to help ensure level crossing safety.
The push for the Witney Street boom gates began in August 2004, when the Gladstone City Council requested funding from the state government, but was denied.
After much correspondence between the two parties, Queensland Rail completed design work on the boom gates in April last year and estimated the boom gates would be completed at the end of 2005.
However, a combination of buck passing and red tape meant the wait for the boom gates took longer than it should have. While the base and power supply
was in place in late December, the boom gates still had not been finished.
Councillor Matt Burnett, who was a driving force to get boom gates installed at the railway crossing, said he was happy with the completion of the boom gates.
'It's great and fantastic and I am glad they are up and operational,' Cr Burnett said.
However, he said he would not stop at Witney Street, stressing other areas needed to be recognised for safety concerns.
'Next step is Mercury Street and any other areas that need attention,' Cr Burnett said.