Compliance message goes out to drivers using EastLink


Drivers behind the wheel of restricted-access trucks are being urged to plan their trips and avoid EastLink's tunnels

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | June 11, 2013

Drivers behind the wheel of restricted-access trucks are being urged to plan their trips and avoid EastLink’s tunnels as up to two trucks are being turned around each month, ConnectEast says.

The recent incident which saw a tanker slapped with a breach of notice by WorkSafe on May 28 for stopping traffic while turning away from the Mullum Mullum Tunnel should be a timely reminder to the industry that placard loads are not permitted, a ConnectEast spokesman says.

"The great majority of drivers carrying placard loads are doing the right thing. Only a very small percentage need to be turned around because they find themselves not having used the last exit before the tunnel approach," the spokesman says.

ConnectEast has been working with the industry and WorkSafe since the opening of EastLink five years ago to educate drivers but more needs to be done to inform the industry, he adds.

"We believe that through these education efforts the rate of compliance is improving as time goes on.

"The message to drivers with placard load is plan your trip, avoid Melbourne’s tunnels and if you happen to find yourself near the tunnel entrance, stop in the emergency lane and wait for assistance from an EastLink vehicle," he adds.

The tanker, which is equipped to carry LP gas but was empty at the time, was travelling outbound on EastLink before the driver realised he could not travel through the tunnels.

He then stopped in the emergency lane before entering the tunnel in Ringwood, with EastLink control room operators lowering the barrier gates to stop traffic.

"The EastLink incident response vehicle ensured two lanes on the other carriageway were closed so that the driver with the placard load could safely negotiate the turn-around point," the spokesman says.

"This incident didn’t happen in peak hour which explains why only a handful of motorists were inconvenienced on this occasion but the potential for delays is huge if it occurs between 7am or 4pm and 6pm on a weekday (when more than 220,000 cars travel on EastLink each workday)."

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