A level crossing programme that was launched by the Ministry of Transport & Communications in 2018 has continued to grow. When the programme ends next year, level crossing safety will have been improved in three hundred places around Finland instead of the 65 places that were originally planned.
According to the current plan, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will remove 177 level crossings and improve 129 level crossings in relation to the programme.
"Such a great result was achieved with our own and regional planning,” said Jarmo Koistinen, a traffic safety specialist from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. “As an example, there was a section of road with four level crossings. After constructing detours, we have been able to remove three of them and improve the safety of the remaining level crossing.”
Although the current works are significantly improving the situation, there will still be 2,550 level crossings in Finland after the programme ends.
"There is still plenty of work to be done for many years, and at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, we are committed to improving traffic safety in this area," Koistinen added.
Lahti-Heinola is the largest level crossing project in progress. After the project, there will be 29 new or renewed level crossing safety devices in the area.
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to reduce the number of level crossings on this section of the line since in places the roads and the track are close to each other and very close to populated areas, so it has not been possible to construct detours,” said Koistinen. “However, by adding latest technology to level crossings, safety can be considerably improved.”
Another major project is starting on the Tampere-Pori section of line. Under the €40m project, the current level crossings will be replaced primarily with road or bridge arrangements or equipped with safety equipment.
“As the number of level crossings has been reduced, the number of accidents has also decreased,” said Koistinen. "None of our work, however, removes the obligation of the level crossing user to be vigilant when crossing the railroad on car or by other means.”