Wacka proposes truck-only Tenterfield bypass

Nationals senator suggests restricting the proposed Tenterfield bypass to heavy vehicles to alleviate traffic concerns and promote the local economy

By Brad Gardner | June 7, 2011

The Federal Government should look at restricting the proposed Tenterfield bypass to heavy vehicles, Nationals Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams says.

During Senate estimates hearings, Williams said a dedicated truck bypass could support Tenterfield’s economy while removing heavy vehicle traffic from the main street.

"Perhaps if there was a signpost ‘Heavy vehicles bypass’, that might encourage the cars to go into town and promote the local economy," Williams says.

Department of Infrastructure and Transport Secretary Mike Mrdak says the bypass will be designed to reduce truck traffic, but added that it was unheard of for a route to be limited to heavy vehicles.

"Certainly, while the priority is to try to move some of that heavy vehicle traffic out, once you have a bypass, obviously, other through-traffic may seek to use it," he says.

"Not in my memory has there been a bypass which is solely for heavy vehicles. You have alternative routes in some towns for that, but generally it is open to all categories of traffic."

Infrastructure Australia manager Alex Foulds expects the planning study on the bypass to begin this month and to take about two years to complete based on advice from the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA).

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says the bypass will take up to 600 trucks and thousands of cars a day off Tenterfield’s local streets and improve safety and travel times.

"The main street is very narrow and there are an enormous amount of heavy vehicles, from B-doubles down, using it 24 hours a day," Williams says.

Independent Tony Windsor, who made the bypass a condition of his support for the Gillard-led minority government, says the current situation "is a disaster waiting to happen".

"It’s difficult to open a car door parked in Rouse Street for fear of losing it and the narrow footpaths make it difficult for pedestrians in the main shopping part of Tenterfield even though the speed limit is 40km/h," he says.

Windsor says he is also concerned about dangerous goods trucks travelling down the main street because a petrol tanker accident could have severe consequences for the entire community.

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