In a move which will see local councils carry out and manage engineering assessments of their bridges and culverts, the Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project will see up to $8 million funding for improved truck access. To begin with the project will include 12 councils nationwide in its pilot phase.
The project aims to identify the existing capacity of road infrastructure and share this information centrally, to inform heavy vehicle road access. Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), road managers have responsibility for heavy vehicle access to their road network.
This project will provide the resources to assist local government road managers in making decisions relating to heavy vehicle access on their road network infrastructure, specifically bridges and culverts.
“We’re looking forward to kicking off this work in the coming weeks with a diverse group of councils from right across the country,” said Sal Petroccitto, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO. “The project will improve heavy vehicle access by identifying key heavy vehicle routes on local roads and assisting local governments with the management of their road asset data.
“It will also provide a central database that contains information on road assets making it easier for heavy vehicle operators to use routes that can accommodate them. By working with local councils we can simplify things, by improving the certainty of access for the wide range of vehicles that use our roads.”
The 12 Local Governments participating in the pilot are:
- NSW – Bega Valley Shire Council, Cessnock City Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council
- Queensland – Central Highlands Regional Council, Isaac Regional Council, Mackay Regional Council, Toowoomba Regional Council
- South Australia – Barossa Council
- Victoria – Glenelg Shire Council, City of Greater Dandenong, Pyrenees Shire Council
- Western Australia – Town of Port Hedland
“Our members want to be able to operate high productivity freight vehicles such as B-doubles on key local government roads to boost their productivity,” said Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association CEO. “Allowing trucks that can carry more freight reduces the number of trucks on the road and improves safety for everyone.
“These trucks often need permits to operate over defined routes, but trucking businesses don’t have enough information to apply for routes that take their trucks over bridges and culverts that are established as being able to take their weight.
“The result can be long delays as trucking businesses, the NHVR and local governments look at different routes to try to find one that works. Potentially, local governments may need to undertake engineering assessments. This is expensive and adds even more delay. Sometimes, more than one trucking operator ends up paying for assessments of the same bridge.”
As a government partner, the NHVR works with over 400 road managers to obtain road manager decisions and provides a range of expert heavy vehicle resources to assist with the decision making process.
This $8 million funding for improved truck access project will improve the available information about local government road assets, benefiting both road managers and heavy vehicle operators:
- Assisting local governments with engineering assessments of priority bridges and culverts, on key routes.
- Supporting heavy vehicle operators by providing engineering assessments to inform route planning.