Trucking urges patience as NSW floods take toll


Trucking industry urges patience from its customers as severe flooding in NSW affects more areas

Trucking urges patience as NSW floods take toll
Trucking urges patience as NSW floods take toll
By Brad Gardner | June 17, 2011

The NSW trucking industry is urging patience from its customers as it grapples with severe flooding throughout the state that has forced road closures and cut off towns.

The state’s mid north coast has been inundated with wild weather, which has caused rivers to swell and damage to homes and businesses.

Jill Lewis from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association says drivers will need more time to complete deliveries.

"ATA NSW is asking all customers to realise the industry is doing its best to meet the demand, and to understand there will be delays," she says.

Lewis has reminded customers of the industry’s fatigue management and chain of responsibility obligations, which hold all parties accountable for ensuring drivers are not pressured to break the law.

While the rain is easing, Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher says more areas continue to be affected with inundation, tree uprooting, flash flooding and road closures.

He has issued disaster zone declarations for greater Taree, Dungog, Port Stephens, Port Macquarie-Hastings and the Nambucca shire. Gallacher has already declared natural disaster zones for Kempsey, the Upper Hunter, Clarence Valley and Bellingen.

Evacuation orders for homes and businesses have been given for a number of flood-hit areas, while other communities have been cut off due to floodwaters.

"More than 3,350 people have been asked to leave their homes and businesses," Gallacher says.

"The communities of Harrington, Crowdy Head and Manning Point currently are isolated and will remain so for another three to four days."

Gallacher says emergency services have received more than 1,400 requests for help from communities and businesses and completed 52 separate flood rescues.

Key freight routes such as the Pacific Highway have been significantly affected, and Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay has asked motorists to avoid all non-essential travel.

The Pacific Highway between Port Macquarie and Clybucca has not reopened. The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) yesterday told northbound heavy vehicles to park at rest areas and service centres south of Port Macquarie.

"The highway is expected to remain closed at this location for several days," Gay says.

The RTA has advised southbound motorists to divert at Grafton onto the Gwydir Highway and then onto the New England Highway.

"Northbound vehicles can access the Oxley Highway and New England Highway via Wauchope from the Pacific Highway," the department says.

Gay says ajor roads that have reopened are still affected by water.

"Traffic commanders are in place in flood-affected areas, as are with strategically placed variable messaging signs to keep people updated on traffic conditions," he says.

The RTA is providing updates on the latest road closures on its live traffic website. Motorists can also call 132 701 for information on flood-affected roads.


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