Gay extends livestock loading scheme in NSW

NSW livestock loading scheme shifts from being restricted to HML routes to now covering all state-owned and managed roads

By Brad Gardner | March 13, 2013

The New South Wales Government has extended the coverage of the state’s livestock loading scheme to all state-owned and managed roads.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay signed a ministerial order to extend the scheme’s coverage from higher mass limit (HML) routes to all state roads from March 1.

The loading scheme, which gives livestock transporters increased mass limits for their vehicles, was initially introduced on approved HML routes on December 1 last year.

The extension means there are now only 17 state-run bridges excluded from the loading scheme.

"Since last year, that’s more than 18,000km of roads now fully open to the new scheme," Gay says.

He says 48 operators and more than 460 vehicles have enrolled in the scheme, which is available to operators involved in livestock loading programs in other states and territories.

Furthermore, Gay says his department is now using a new bridge assessment method that allows livestock-carrying B-doubles access to bridges not available to traditional HML combinations.

"Such bridges include Fitzgerald Bridge at Aberdeen, the bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton and all bridges on the Pacific Highway," he says.

The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is also working to assess the load-carrying capacity of bridges under council control. Gay says the department wrote to local governments last year requesting bridge specifications.

The department is still awaiting responses from some councils, while some have indicated they do not have the resources to gather the information requested.

"Indeed, some councils have advised that they do not know the load carrying capacity of many of their bridges and nor do they have the resources for bridge assessments," Gay says.

He says information received so far indicates about 500 bridges may need new load limit signs and nearly 2,500 bridges may require a load assessment.

Gay says the initiative aims to identify and prioritise bridges that need to undergo load assessments so they can be added to the livestock loading scheme. Those that cannot support HML loads will be signposted.

"Rest assured we are determined to sort through these council issues, encourage them, work with them, help them where we can, shame them if we have to," Gay says.

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