Plans to remove a dangerous level crossing from the city of Paltamo had been underway for years before the accident claimed two people at the scene last week, according to a local road district chair.
Two people in a car died when they were hit by an express train at an intersection on Friday about three miles from Paltamo train station.
Victory Leinonen, The chairman of the Koikerolahdentie road district, said that discussions on closing motor traffic at the intersection began as early as 2017. In order for traffic to stay across the tracks, a new road leading to the intersection at the west end of the train must be built. The level crossing is equipped with an automatic gate to prevent collisions.
"The first proposals were made in 2019 and by then there were already pictures [of the plans] made. It was discussed that construction will begin in 2019-2020. For some reason [the plans] were late," Leinonen said.
The removal of the railway and road junction, known as the Lepiko level crossing, is part of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s nationwide level crossing removal and improvement project.
The area is scheduled to be completely decommissioned next year through traffic routes.
Leinonen said that he had been in contact with the Transport Infrastructure Office on several occasions and that the crossing should be closed by next summer.
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has announced that until last week, no accidents have been reported at the Lepiko level crossing since 2000, when the agency began recording the number of level crossing accidents throughout the country.
In 2020, three people died and two were seriously injured in level crossing accidents across the country.
At the same time, according to preliminary data, six people have died at level crossings in Finland this year.
Source: The Nordic Page