VicRoads amends definition to deny trucks access

New restrictions on Yarraville’s three main streets in Melbourne’s west will allow access to delivery trucks only

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | August 7, 2013

New restrictions on Yarraville’s three main streets in Melbourne’s west will allow access to delivery trucks only.

What was previously considered a "loose definition" of truck measures where local operators were allowed access to Somerville Road, Francis and Buckley Streets, has been altered by VicRoads with a new curfew allowing entry to only those that are loading or unloading.

VicRoads Operations Manager Darrell Gascoyne says the previous curfew saw a spike in truck traffic as non-local operators used the streets as a thoroughfare.

"What we used to have was a very loose definition of a local truck and what it meant was that operators who were local trucks were allowed to travel beyond the curfew signs and do their business," Gascoyne says.

"Unfortunately what’s occurred is that other businesses that have grown around the area have also decided that they were local trucks too. That caused some difficulty because of the increase in truck traffic."

VicRoads Regional Director Patricia Liew says VicRoads is trying to strike a balance between the residents and transport businesses’ needs.

"It’s about balancing enforcement, education and engineering," Liew says.

"It’s about making sure that businesses that need to be operating in the area are allowed to operate in the area and those that aren’t, are not.

"In the interim, the volume of trucks is distributed on Francis Street, Somerville Road and Buckley Street which are the three main thoroughfares in the area. If you take traffic off one road, it will concentrate on another road."

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) Treasurer Lisel Thomas has welcomed the curfews but says residents want to see them extended around school zones.

"We understand that VicRoads is trying to make improvements and we understand that there have been some better enforcement recently but we certainly think that there is room for improvement and more extension of those curfews," Thomas says.

"I certainly wouldn’t want to live on Somerville Road or Francis Street and I wouldn’t want to have to send my kid to school having to cross either of those streets in the morning.

"I think it’s very difficult for families to actually allow their kids to walk or ride to and from school when they have to cross roads like these in the morning and the afternoon."

Night time and weekend truck curfews were introduced on sections of Francis Street and Somerville Road in 2002 to reduce the impact of truck noise and emissions on local residents.

Trucks cannot drive past a ‘no trucks’ sign unless their destination is beyond the sign, they are loading or unloading goods and other routes to the destination have no truck signs.

Advisory signs have been installed around Francis Street and Somerville Road to inform drivers of the restrictions and to allow them to plan their trips.

Those caught disobeying the signs will be given on-the-spot fine of $141.

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