Moorland Pacific Highway truck stop a victim of progress

The Moorland to Herons Creek Pacific Highway upgrade will have an adverse affect on a popular truck stop

By Greg Bush

The lack of truck stops and rest areas along the Pacific Highway looks likely to be exacerbated later this year when the Moorland to Herons Creek upgrade is completed.

The Caltex Service Station at South Moorland, under fire from local residents for the past five years, could be a casualty when a new section of the highway bypasses the area.

However, manager Jill Virgona is optimistic that the truck stop’s reputation will enable it to continue in operation.

"We’re hoping the restaurant will still keep going because the trucks need somewhere to stop and have a decent feed. Hopefully we’ll still be able to survive."

The Caltex has had a chequered existence in recent times. Despite its popularity with truckies, the few local residents in the area, led by "residents’ spokesman" Max Hamilton, have campaigned to the local council and the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (NSWRTA) to restrict roadside parking for heavy vehicles.

In a report to the Manning River Times newspaper back in April 2004, Hamilton says "the situation has exacerbated over the past 12 months because of the increase in heavy vehicle traffic on the Pacific Highway, the advent of B-doubles and the Taree bypass, which in effect forces truck drivers no other alternative but to stop, in a residential precinct, at South Moorland if they require a break."

According to Virgona, Hamilton moved into the area "eight or nine years ago".

"He doesn’t like trucks; they’re ‘monsters in the village’," she says.

"About two years ago they [the RTA] put all the white posts up and stopped the trucks parking across the road. He [Hamilton] just rings them up and they do exactly what he asks.

"On my side they basically can’t park south past the service station. Because it’s across the road from his [Hamilton’s] house, he’s had ‘no standing’ put up in front of his place.

Virgona says the ongoing situation is another example of truck stops being decreased along the Pacific Highway. The Moorland bypass is due for completion in December.

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