The announcement of re-opened applications for projects under the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program and the Bridges Renewal Program will mean increased infrastructure spending to improve productivity.
NatRoad welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of the $250 million committed to the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) and the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) programs, saying it needed to be applied swiftly.
“Our roads and bridges are the arteries of our road freight system so continually renewing and upgrading them is essential in a country ruled by distance,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “Time and time again, we’ve seen situations where one bridge with an inferior weight tolerance compared to others on a road freight route acts as a bottleneck on productivity.
“Funding an upgrade strategically can make the freight task so much more efficient. The better we can assess and classify road freight routes to reflect their capabilities and weaknesses, the easier it is to make them safer and more productive.”
David Smith, Australian Trucking Association Chair said the announcement would result in more rest areas and better road access for safer and more productive trucks.
“Truck drivers need rest areas so they can take safety breaks and meet their compliance obligations. But there just aren’t enough rest areas on the road system,” said David. “As far as the trucking industry is concerned, every new rest area on the roads is a win.
“The rest areas funded under the heavy vehicle safety program should be required to meet the Austroads rest area guidelines. Austroads developed these guidelines in consultation with the industry. They set out the facilities that drivers should be able to expect at rest areas as a basic right.
“It is also essential that bridge and productivity upgrades be matched by automatic access for the appropriate class of truck. When a bridge or road is upgraded under these programs, the local council should be required to add them to the defined network and not require trucking businesses to lodge expensive and time consuming permit applications.
“The Australian Government has every right to insist on this as a requirement – particularly since it is now going to fund up to 80 per cent of the cost of upgrade projects in rural and regional areas.”