Super B-doubles set for launch with guidelines out

Super B-doubles granted access to some Victoria routes today, with long-awaited guidelines released

September 11, 2009

Super B-doubles have been granted access to certain routes in Victoria from today, with the State Government releasing the long-awaited guidelines for the longer trailers.

Super B-doubles are capable of carrying two 40-foot containers and 30 percent more freight.

The trial will allow them on freeways that link the Port of Melbourne with industrial areas in the west and north, including the West Gate Freeway, Western Ring Road and Hume Freeway to Somerton.

Certain roads in the so-called Green Triangle district around the port at Portland will also be open to the vehicles, mainly the Princes and Henty highways.

Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas told the Freight 2009 event in Melbourne today that a further $5 million will be spent on infrastructure in Portland, with a commitment for $11.4 million to upgrade the Nhill trailer exchange and rest stop.

Pallas says the trial is aimed at reducing the number of heavy vehicles on the State’s roads by carrying goods more safely and efficiently.

"It’s [the trial] the beginning of a major change to the way we move freight," Pallas says.

"It will target key freight areas in metropolitan Melbourne and the Green Triangle region around Portland and will be conducted under strict safety guidelines – rigorous performance based standards – the industry will need to sign up to."

The vehicles the Government has dubbed Next Generation High Productivity Freight Vehicles, or NHPFV, will be forced to undergo a series of 16 road safety tests, be accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) for mass management, and be monitored under the Intelligent Access Project (IAP) to ensure vehicles remain on designated routes.

"Breaches would be investigated by VicRoads, with transgressions potentially resulting in sanctions and the loss of permits worth millions of dollars," Pallas says.

"Operators guilty of breaches, including being off-route, could also face fines up to $130,000."

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