Qld commits to greater road access

Queensland Government to increase level of heavy vehicle access by expanding PBS regime

By Brad Gardner | September 15, 2009

The Queensland Government is planning to increase the level of heavy vehicle access on the State’s roads by expanding the performance based standards (PBS) regime.

Releasing its annual report yesterday, the Department of Main Roads says it is committed to opening up more of the network to trucking operators.

The department has already allowed access to vehicles up to 53 metres in length if they meet performance standards under level A of PBS, but Main Roads is now looking to accommodate longer vehicles.

"We continue to classify the Queensland road network to determine those road links which can be safely used for longer PBS level B innovative vehicles," the report reads.

"Level B can be used by longer vehicles that meet performance standards."

The pledge to improve access follows on from Main Roads’ work with road train operators.

The department has in the space of five years increased road access from 58 percent of the network to 100 percent for BAB Quads, while access for ABB Quads has grown from 21 percent to 100 percent over the same period.

"ABB Quads have a prime mover towing a single semi-trailer and a set of B-triple trailers. BAB Quads have a prime mover towing two sets of B-double trailers."

The focus on PBS will coincide with plans to trial high productivity vehicles at the Port of Brisbane to reduce congestion.

Main Roads will work with the port to develop a designated road network around the precinct capable of supporting the vehicles, which can carry two 40-foot containers.

The move to introduce the vehicles was announced last month as part of a strategy to improve heavy vehicle productivity and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Main Roads has also listed the introduction of truck bulldozers as another priority for the department this year.

Labelled as heavy vehicle recovery units, the vehicles will be tasked with shoving stricken trucks to the side of the road to keep traffic moving.

The vehicles are part of the Queensland Government’s Open Roads policy, which was introduced this year to give police and traffic officers more power to remove vehicles.

"The [Open Roads] legislation will address incidents such as the one in September 2008 when a truck rolled over on the Port of Brisbane Motorway, spilling its cargo of poultry. It took seven hours to clear the road," Main Roads’ annual report says.

The government department expects the introduction of the bulldozer-like vehicles to slash clearance times by as much as 50 percent.

There are currently vehicles servicing three separate areas: south of the Gateway Motorway, north of the Gateway Motorway and the Logan and Ipswich motorways.

National Transport Insurance (NTI) raised concerns about the policy because enforcement officers and remove vehicles by whatever means necessary.

"From an insurance perspective, we think they will cause more damage, and that is a concern," a spokesperson for NTI says.

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