The trucking industry has welcomed an $8 million pilot project to help local councils carry out and manage engineering assessments of their bridges and culverts.
The Australian Government and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator announced this week that work was underway on the pilot phase of the Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project.
Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire congratulated the Australian Government and NHVR on the project. He said the project would make easier and faster for trucking operators to get permits to operate high productivity freight vehicles on key local government roads.
“Our members want to be able to operate high productivity freight vehicles such as B-doubles on key local government roads to boost their productivity. Allowing trucks that can carry more freight reduces the number of trucks on the road and improves safety for everyone,” Mr Maguire said.
“These trucks often need permits to operate over defined routes, but trucking businesses don’t have enough information to apply for routes that take their trucks over bridges and culverts that are established as being able to take their weight.
“The result can be long delays as trucking businesses, the NHVR and local governments look at different routes to try to find one that works.
“Potentially, local governments may need to undertake engineering assessments. This is expensive and adds even more delay. Sometimes, more than one trucking operator ends up paying for assessments of the same bridge.
“The pilot program will identify key truck routes on local government roads, help local governments manage their road asset data, provide a central database and carry out engineering assessments on a hundred bridges and culverts.
“I want to congratulate the Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, and NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto for their leadership in developing this program. It’s a great step forward,” he said.
Mr Maguire urged trucking businesses to contact the NHVR if they have access issues with bridges or culverts on local government routes.
“We need to make sure that the local councils and the NHVR know the bridges and culverts that are problematic for the industry, so they can be checked out as part of the full project,” he said.
“Now is our chance to raise problems by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The pilot phase of the project will cover the following local government areas:
NSW: Bega Valley, Cessnock, Muswellbrook
Queensland: Central Highlands, Isaac, Mackay, Toowoomba
South Australia: Barossa
Victoria: Glenelg, Greater Dandenong, Pyrenees
Western Australia: Port Hedland.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.