Industry raises concerns over truck restrictions

Government plan to restrict trucks on Victoria's freeways may raise significant compliance issues, according to VTA

March 4, 2010

The Brumby Government's plan to restrict trucks on Victoria's freeways may raise significant compliance issues, according to the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas unveiled a plan to stop trucks over 4.5 tonnes from using the right hand lane on multi-lane freeways.

The scheme will be introduced on the Princes Freeway in July between the Western Ring Road interchange and Beach Road interchange at Lara and rolled out progressively across Victoria for freeways with three or more lanes.

Trucks that break the law will be fined $350.

But VTA CEO Philip Lovel has raised concerns about what the changes mean for Bolte Bridge traffic which is sent into the right hand lane towards the Burnely tunnel.

"This will make it most difficult for truck drivers to then merge back to the left-hand lanes to obey the new laws," he warns.

The VTA is also critical of the 4.5 tonne clause.

"The inclusion of all commercial vehicles greater than 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass includes many more vehicles than this law really needs," Lovel says.

"The current laws are not enforced now.
We hope VicRoads and Victoria Police have done their homework on this or it could be a disaster."

However Lovel congratulated the Government for consulting the VTA on the proposed changes and says the group will closely monitor how it affects the industry.

"What is most important to us is that these new restrictions must not compromise road safety or freight transport efficiency," Lovel says.

Pallas yesterday claimed the Government was reacting to community concerns and taking action to create a safer and more efficient driving environment.

"Restricting trucks from the right-hand lane on freeways with three or more lanes of traffic in each direction is aimed squarely at making some of the busiest roads in the state safer, while ensuring the needs of all drivers on these roads are met," Pallas says.

Other lane restrictions will be introduced on the West Gate Freeway, the Eastern Freeway and EastLink.

"Other roads, including CityLink, the M1 corridor and the M80 Ring Road, are being investigated as part of the lane restrictions plan," Pallas says.

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