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Remove curfews to up productivity

A flippant attitude, even though traffic conditions have changed, is on display from NSW Roads and Maritime Services. Unnecessary curfews restricting heavy loads in the Hunter region of NSW should be removed, according to ATANSW. The association applauded Premier Mike Baird’s $273 million plan to fix congestion in the Hunter region, but urged him to first remove productivity-stifling heavy vehicle curfews across the area.

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According to ATANSW Manager, Jodie Broadbent, existing heavy vehicle curfews prevent trucks from passing through the Hunter region quickly, creating an artificial traffic backlog.

“In March 2014, the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway was opened, diverting more than 20,000 vehicles per day off local roads in the Hunter region,” said Broadbent. “However, curfews that restrict the movement of over dimension vehicles through those local roads are still based on the previous traffic volumes.

“These curfews can mean a truck with a big load can take two days to travel just 150 km from the Port of Newcastle carrying vital equipment for businesses in the Hunter region. The impact of this is considerable, with increased labour costs and reduced returns on assets. It also causes a build-up of heavy vehicles in areas where drivers are forced to wait between curfew windows, which defeats the whole purpose of having the curfew in the first place.”

Broadbent said ATANSW had requested that RMS remove the curfews to allow smooth heavy vehicle traffic flow through the Hunter region.

“As a member of the Newcastle Freight Group, we have continually urged RMS to remove the curfews in this region, especially since the opening of the Hunter Expressway. We have not been given any information as to why this has not been undertaken.

“This flippant attitude towards a simple solution to improve productivity in a region suffering with job losses is baffling. We will continue to work for members on these operational issues and make sure the government is held accountable.”

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