New multi-million dollar truck stop on the way

New $11.4 million project to build a trailer exchange in regional Victoria to begin next year

December 17, 2009

Construction of a trailer exchange on the Western Highway will begin next year after tenders were called to submit a bid for the project.

The $11.4 million facility to be based at Nhill is designed to give truck drivers a bigger, better and safer area as a halfway point between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The first stage involves constructing enter and exit lanes, with Victorian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas saying the trailer exchange will be built mid next year.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese bemoaned the state of the current facility, saying it is not good enough.

"Located in Nhill, the existing trailer exchange is too small with only 23 vehicle spaces. As a result, some truck drivers are forced to swap trailers in local streets, particularly late at night or in the early hours of the morning," Albanese says.

"Once completed, the new site will provide space for up to 100 trucks at any one time. What’s more, it will be located further away from the township of Nhill."

Albanese says the Rudd Government has been working with the trucking industry and state and territory governments to build and maintain rest stops along the nation’s highways.

"We’re currently making the biggest single federal investment in the roadside facilities used by truck drivers, including new and refurbished rest stops, parking bays and decoupling areas."

The Government last year announced a $70 million heavy vehicle package of which a portion was spent on rest stops.

Pallas says a 2008 study conducted by VicRoads found more than 1000 trucks passed through Nhill daily, with about 250 of them needing to exchange trailers.

"Nhill is an ideal location for this new facility. It allows drivers carrying loads between Melbourne and Adelaide the opportunity to swap their trailers at the halfway point and return home the same day," he says.

Pallas says the facility will also allow drives to take a break.

The construction of the truck stop will occur alongside a $50 million program to improve safety on the Western Highway between Stawell and the South Australian border.

The upgrade includes new additional overtaking lanes to be built west of Kaniva early next year.

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