W Sumatra government should help close illegal crossings: Ministry

W Sumatra government should help close illegal crossings: Ministry

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The illegal crossings are very dangerous, as they have high potential for causing accidents.

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA) – The Transportation Ministry has urged the local governments in West Sumatra Province to assist in taking precautionary measures against potential problems, as the ministry will close hundreds of illegal railroad crossings across the province.

Director for Safety of the Directorate General of Railways at the ministry, Edi Nursalam, stated here on Saturday that when the illegal access is closed, various protests will likely occur, especially by people, who had been using the access.

“Nonetheless, the access must be closed to ensure the safety of the people. Hence, we need assistance of the local governments to solve social issues,” he stated while participating in a recreational cycling event to promote the National Railway Safety Movement.

A total of 245 illegal railway crossings will be closed gradually across the province, with a target of 170 of them being permanently closed in 2022.

“The illegal crossings are very dangerous, as they have a high potential for causing accidents,” the director cautioned.

To replace the illegal crossings, the ministry will establish proper road access for the community on the left side of the rail tracks with level crossings equipped by various road safety equipment, including barrier gates, guard officers, alarm, and crossing lights.

Related news: Malfunctioning gate at railway crossing causes train crash

Nursalam remarked that members of the community were informed of the plan to close the illegal crossing since January 2022 by involving local community figures, traditional leader, and village heads.

Although the frequency of train trips in West Sumatra Province is not too high, the construction of railway infrastructure in the province is quite rapid recently, with a budget of around Rp1 trillion (US$67.5 million).

Hence, the ministry had chosen the province to implement the pilot program of the Railway Safety Movement in 2022.

Assistant II for Economic Affairs at the West Sumatra Provincial Secretariat, Wardarusmen, stated that the local government highly supports the railway safety program since currently, the number of accidents is quite high.

“Hence, the safety program implemented by the Transportation Ministry is in accordance with our attempt to improve public safety at railroad crossings,” he added. 

Related news: Seven people killed after a train hits their car in Cibitung: police

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