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"Notorious" level crossings targeted in State Budget

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Boom gates and level crossings at two notorious Adelaide traffic stoppers will be removed under a $400 million funding announcement ahead of tomorrow’s State Budget.

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The level crossing at Torrens Road, Ovingham, will go under a $231 million project, while another at Brighton Road, Hove, will cost $171 million.

“We are partnering with the Federal Liberal Government to deliver two grade separations and seven intersection upgrades in the upcoming State Budget,” said Premier Steven Marshall.

“This massive investment will mean South Australians spend less time stuck in traffic and more time with their loved ones at home.

“Building this infrastructure will support the population growth we are striving for in South Australia.”

Marshall said the Ovingham level crossing removal was scheduled for 2022, with Hove to follow by 2023.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said the projects were along Adelaide’s two busiest train lines.

“The Seaford and Gawler train lines are our most heavily patronised… and when the boom gates come down, it frustrates motorists on their way to work or home,” Knoll said in a statement.

“In fact, we know that during peak periods at the Brighton Road level crossing, the boom gates are down for about 20 per cent of the time – or about 25 minutes.

“That’s why we are building these grade separations – to bust congestion and cut travel times.”

The 2019/20 State Budget will outline funding for more traffic projects, including:

Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that tomorrow’s Budget would reveal a surplus, but the government had to grapple with an “unprecedented” cut in federal GST payments.

Treasurer Rob Lucas has revealed the GST hit will nudge $2.115 billion over the four-year forward estimates, while stamp-duty revenues will decline by $184 million over the same period.

“A $517m writedown in GST revenue next year alone, and that makes it tough,” Marshall said.

The Premier said the government made no apology for borrowing to fund infrastructure projects, saying “now is the best time in the history of our state to be borrowing money”.

“There’s debt, and there’s debt. Debt spending on productive infrastructure that’s going to improve the productive capacity of the state … there’s going to be a return to the taxpayer,” he said.

The InDaily team will be at the Budget lockup tomorrow, and will publish a special Budget edition after the embargo lifts at 3pm.

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