RMS pledges to investigate Clybucca speed limit

By: Steve Skinner, Photography by: Steve Skinner


NSW Roads and Maritime Services acts on driver concerns about safety at major trailer changeover point.

RMS pledges to investigate Clybucca speed limit
Truck drivers want the speed limit at the busy Clybucca roadhouse to be reduced.

 

The New South Wales roads authority says it will investigate the speed limit at the busy Clybucca roadhouse, the main trailer changeover point for trucks travelling between Sydney and Brisbane on the Pacific Highway.

At present, through-trucks are allowed to drive past the roadhouse at 100km/h, at the same time as other trucks are pulling in and nosing out of the popular changeover and rest area halfway between the two cities.

Trucks pulling out to head south from a standing start run the gauntlet of southbound through-trucks coming around a blind bend at full speed. Not all departing or through drivers use their CB radios to alert others of their intentions.

After a recent visit to Clybucca, Owner//Driver put drivers’ concerns to the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

In a statement, an RMS spokesperson says the department will "investigate the speed limit near the Clybucca roadhouse to ensure it is safe."

Owner//Driver spoke at length with six experienced drivers who all advocated a reduction in the speed limit out the front of the roadhouse, which is just north of Kempsey.

A couple of drivers even called for a pair of point-to-point speed cameras to be installed at the same spot, to make sure everyone sticks to a reduced limit.

A 40-year trucking veteran, Dave Neil, is one of them. He’s been pulling into or driving straight past the Clybucca service centre for a decade.

Neil says he has seen several T-bone and nose-to-tail truck accidents at Clybucca, and is "gobsmacked" that he hasn’t seen anyone killed there.

"It’s pure luck," says Neil, who does a Sydney-Clybucca changeover most nights for Bagtrans.  

"I cringe for the greenhorns."

About cars and caravans he adds ominously: "Come Easter and Christmas time it’s one hell of a place to be. It’s wild."

Brisbane-based Griffith Corporation driver Mitchell Hayes says it’s "basically a bit of Russian Roulette" coming in and out of Clybucca.

"We call when we’re coming in or out, and some people are listening, some people aren’t," laments Hayes.

"It’s like a bit of a gamble to come out, and most of the time we win, sometimes we lose."

Hayes has been changing over at Clybucca five nights a week for about six months and says he’s seen two accidents in that time.

Check out much more about some of Australia’s major changeover locations in the April issue of Owner//Driver.

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