Buswell ends road train curfew in Swan Valley


WA transport minister scraps curfews on road trains using the Great Northern Highway in the Swan Valley

October 12, 2011

Curfews limiting the use of road trains on the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia have been scrapped in a move expected to ease traffic congestion.

West Australian Transport Minister Troy Buswell today announced he would lift the weekend curfew on road trains between 30 and 36.5 metres long travelling through the Swan Valley.

Main Roads lifted the curfew from May 28 to October 9 as part of a trial, which Buswell says created a more even spread of heavy vehicle movements through the valley. The trial was originally planned to run for three months.

Under the curfew, road trains from 30 metres long up to 36.5 metres were banned from travelling along the highway through the Swan Valley between 9am and 6pm on weekends and public holidays. Livestock operators were exempt.

"Prior to the trial, vehicles would have to wait for the expiry of the weekend curfew before they could move in road train configuration, otherwise they would have to move single trailers, which meant they had to break-up or assemble road trains at Apple Street," he says.

"This effectively increased the number of heavy vehicle movements through the Swan Valley, in some cases from one to three, and created unnecessary traffic congestion along the highway."

Buswell says Main Roads consulted with community and industry. East Metropolitan MP Alyssa Hayden advocated for the curfew to be permanently removed.

Buswell says the trial improved transport efficiency and road safety due to a more even spread of heavy vehicle traffic throughout the week.

"It is also timely also to lift the curfew in view of the fact that this section of the highway has been upgraded substantially in recent times with passing lanes and turning pockets," he says.

Buswell has also lifted the curfew on oversized loads between 7.5 metres and 8.5 metres in width.

"These moves were previously only allowed on weekends, but those which do not require overhead power lines to be lifted will now be allowed from Monday to Thursday between 10am and 2pm to ease the congestion over the weekend," he says.

During the Main Roads trial, an average of 156 road trains travelled through the Swan Valley between 9am and 6pm on Saturdays, with the number falling to 96 on Sundays.

Hayden earlier this year pushed for an end to the road train curfew, which she blamed for causing congestion by forcing trucking companies to break down their vehicles and make multiple trips.

"Instead of trucks making only one trip through the valley, the trip has been multiplied up to six times. In the case of a three-trailer truck, the curfew, which is meant to reduce truck traffic, has increased the number of trips by six times," Hayden said in August.

"I hope that common-sense prevails. The lifting of the curfew will reduce traffic on the Great Northern Highway and relieve congestion, and I hope to see it lifted."

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