Industry not so mad about truck bans
Toll caps to offset bans
FURTHER truck bans, toll caps and a second wind of investment into a port-rail shuttle have all been announced as part of the Victorian Government’s plans to tackle congestion near the Melbourne port.
The initiatives are all centred around the West Gate Tunnel Project which is hoped to open up a sufficient freight route between the freeway and the port with twin tunnels under Yarraville.
Ultimately allowing truckies to avoid 17 sets of traffic lights, while easing congestion in the surrounding areas.
Surprisingly, the second round of truck bans, one of the most controversial measures proposed by the Andrews Government has been met with less confrontation than the first.
With the Victorian Transport Association and anti-congestion Maribyrnong Truck Action Group both proclaiming their support for the plan, when teamed with reduced toll costs.
To improve freight use of the proposed tunnel, the Government will require the tunnel operator to set discounted shuttle rates and cap maximum daily tolls for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel, as well as night time discounts.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson said the association was pleased the Government listened to calls from the sector.
“The transport industry has been hit with substantial increases to tolls and infrastructure costs at the Port of Melbourne this year, so it is encouraging that steps are being taken by the Government to ensure heavy vehicle operators are not penalised for using toll roads.
“Whilst permanent 24/7 bans on trucks travelling through Blackshaws and Hudsons Road form part of the announcement, they will be more than offset by the productivity gains that will be realised from giving operators a financial incentive to use the West Gate Tunnel,” Mr Anderson said.
“The trade-off is also welcome because it demonstrates that the Victorian Government understands it cannot simply take something away from the industry without compensating for it in some other way.
Maribyrnong Truck Action Group secretary Martin Wurt said they also support the measures.
“We have been having dialogue with the VTA for some time and we often find we are on the same page looking for the same outcomes,” he explained.
“They want proper freight routes for the industry to use and we want appropriate truck routes away from residential streets for them to use aswell.
“Having trucks on appropriate truck routes is a win-win for everybody, its is faster quicker routes, safer for everybody, and it also makes it safer for truck drivers.”
“The government needs to be making it as easy as possible and offering incentives for the freight industry to be using the new infrastructure when it is in place.
The new bans will take up to 5000 trucks per day off local streets, adding to the more than 9000 removed by the bans already announced.
Expressions of interest are also being sought to deliver the $58 million dollar freight rail project.
TIGHT SQUEEZE: Congestion on Melbourne roads continues to be a problem without sufficient freight routes.
Sharing the road is becoming increasingly difficult.