Transport Industry News

CTAA welcomes HPFV Bolte Bridge access conditions

Restrictions for heavy vehicles travelling across the Bolte Bridge have been negotiated by major transport parties

Discussions between transport and infrastructure organisations and the Department of Transport have come to a head, with key groups reaching an agreement for higher productivity weight vehicle (HPFV) access to the Bolte Bridge.

With works to get underway on Melbourne’s Wurundjeri Way as a part of the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP), there were set to be major detours for transport workers.

While some restrictions for HPFVs will still apply, the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) welcomes the concessions made as a part of the agreement.

“This is a significant win for CTAA and the container logistics road freight sector,” CTAA director Neil Chambers says.

“The alternative would have been severely restricted vehicle weights for carrying containers between the Swanson Precinct and the western suburbs and Webb Dock in the Port of Melbourne on alternative routes such as the weight-restricted West Gate Bridge.

“CTAA and our Alliance companies worked closely with the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP) team, Transurban, the Victorian Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA), the Department of Transport & Planning (DTP), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Port of Melbourne to achieve these route detour outcomes.

“We didn’t get everything we wanted. However, having unrestricted access for HPFVs such as A-doubles and Super B-doubles up to 85.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) will maintain transport productivity for many container transport operators during the traditional peak container season.”

Vehicles weighing between 68.5 to 85.5 tonnes will be able to temporarily use the Bolte Bridge with lane restrictions, with different conditions for vehicles over this weight.

If between 85.5 to 117 tonnes, Super B-doubles will only be permitted to drive on the Bolte Bridge from 8:30pm to 4:30am Mondays to Thursdays, and 11:30pm to 4:30am Fridays to Sundays.

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These requirements will be in place as the works progress from October 6 through to December 2. There will be further works in early 2024, with dates to be confirmed.

While understanding of the circumstances with driver and road safety in mind, Chambers says this will effect companies moving freight between these areas.

“It’s disappointing that HPFVs operating above 85.5t GVM (up to 117t) will not be able to use the detour during the day and will be restricted to using windows of nighttime hours of operation,” he says.

“This means that the operators of these combinations, who mainly transport heavier export and import containers between the Swanson Precinct of the Port of Melbourne and Webb Dock in the south, will need to adjust their operations to either reduce their gross loadings per vehicle to less than 85.5t or try to utilise the night access windows granted at the higher weights.

“Unfortunately, this will mean more truck trips for the given freight task, and more coordination of vehicle booking system slots with the container stevedore terminal operators.

“However, the concerns about safely allowing access to the Bolte for these combinations prevailed.”

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