Victorian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas has released guidelines for the trial of longer B-double trucks to significantly improve the way goods are moved around the state.
Mr Pallas said the Next Generation High Productivity Freight Vehicle Trial would keep the trucks on selected key routes in a move that will considerably reduce the number of freight vehicles on Victorian roads.
“We understand that people are concerned about trucks on our roads, which is why the we are building a better and more efficient freight system to take trucks off our residential streets,” Mr Pallas said.
“This trial will enable goods to be carried safely and more efficiently. It’s the beginning of a major change to the way we move freight. We recognise the importance of the industry to our economy and this is a significant commitment to tackling our future freight task.
“It will target key freight areas in metropolitan Melbourne and the Green Triangle region around Portland and will be conducted under strict safety guidelines – rigorous performance based standards – the industry will need to sign up to.”
Mr Pallas said the trial would allow B-doubles, capable of carrying two 40-foot containers, on to key metropolitan freeways that link the Port of Melbourne with major industrial areas in the west and north of Melbourne, and certain roads around Portland in south western Victoria.
“Victoria’s freight task is expected to double in the next 20 years and High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFV) could be an important way to tackle that freight task, reduce traffic congestion, reduce emissions and keep the cost of our goods down,” he said.
“These larger vehicles can carry 30 per cent more freight, which will reduce the number of trucks needed on our roads to perform the same freight task. The efficient movement of freight is crucial to Victoria’s economic growth and social wellbeing.”
From today, operators can start using the routes outlined in the two year trial. The trial will take place between the Melbourne Port and western and northern metropolitan freight areas mainly along the West Gate Freeway, Western Ring Road and Hume Freeway up to Somerton.
Mr Pallas said the trial would also run in the Green Triangle around Portland mainly on the Princes and Henty Highways, with the government committing $5 million to boost road infrastructure in the region.
“This new funding is in addition to more than $18 million spent in the region in the last few years, including over $10 million to upgrade the Princes/Henty Highway between Portland and Hamilton. In partnership with the Federal Government, we’ve also committed funding for the $11.4 million Nhill Trailer Exchange and rest stop,” he said.
“The HPFV trial supports the ongoing investments being made in the Green Triangle region, a hub for the timber and mineral sands industries and the centre of a large seafood and dairy industry.”
The longer B-doubles have additional axles and can carry heavier loads on approved routes. A B-double with one quad-axle group can carry up to 72.5 tonnes and a B-double with two quad-axle groups up to 77.5 tonnes, compared to a standard B-double – permitted up to 68.0 tonnes.
Mr Pallas said road safety would also be improved with the trial vehicles having to pass 16 rigorous road safety standards, including ABS brakes requirements and front, side and rear under-run protection, as part of the national Performance-Based Standards process.
“Monitoring of vehicle operations will also occur as an important part of the trial through the Intelligent Access Program, innovative GPS technology that will ensure the longer B-doubles stay on pre-approved routes,” he said.
“Breaches would be investigated by VicRoads, with transgressions potentially resulting in sanctions and the loss of permits worth millions of dollars. Operators guilty of breaches, including being off-route, could also face fines up to $130,000.
“Operators will also have to participate in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) – Mass Management Module, to ensure that vehicles are correctly and legally loaded.”
For more information and to download the guidelines go to www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/.