Tracks open for triples

Ef­fi­ciency is boosted by SA change

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Bruce Honey­will bruce.honey­will@bi­grigs.com.au

THE Birdsville and Strz­elecki Tracks are the stuff of le­gends.

Th­ese roads are the tracks of drovers and herds of Chan­nel Coun­try bul­locks walk­ing down the Birdsville Track to the rail­head at Mar­ree.

The coun­try’s most fa­mous cat­tle duf­fer, Harry Red­ford, took a thou­sand stolen Queens­land cat­tle down into South Aus­tralia fol­low­ing Strz­elecki Creek.

But to­day th­ese tracks are more like high­ways, wide graded gravel, heav­ily cor­ru­gated with use.

The South Aus­tralian part of the tracks has been limited to dou­ble road trains, how­ever an an­nounce­ment this month by the South Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment has opened both tracks to Type 2 road trains, up to 53.5m in over­all length which in gen­eral terms means triples for the re­mote coun­try.

While this will im­prove ef­fi­ciency sig­nif­i­cantly for the oil and gas fields it will also help live­stock trans­port head­ing in both di­rec­tions.

Al­ready triples – six deck units – have lifted cat­tle out of Clifton Hill Sta­tion up the Birdsville track and into Queens­land mar­kets.

The open­ing of the roads for triples will in­crease ef­fi­ciency for both live­stock pro­duc­ers and trans­porters, whether tak­ing Chan­nel Coun­try cat­tle south to south­ern mar­kets or Birdsville Track cat­tle north to Queens­land mar­kets.

How­ever there are re­stric­tions. Max­i­mum speed on un­sealed roads is 70 kmh with an ap­pen­dum that a triple must re­duce speed to 25 kmh when an­other ve­hi­cle is ap­proach­ing. Heavy ve­hi­cles must give way to all smaller on­com­ing traf­fic at stock grids.

Live­stock and Ru­ral Trans­porters As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land Pres­i­dent Ian Wild was happy with the de­ci­sion of the SA gov­ern­ment.

Mr Wild says the re­sult has come through trans­port as­so­ci­a­tions in both SA and Queens­land lob­by­ing gov­ern­ment and the de­ci­sion has been more than a decade com­ing.

PHOTOS: BRUCE HONEY­WILL

ON THE STRZ­ELECKI TRACK: 53.5m road trains are now le­gal un­der strict op­er­at­ing con­di­tions.

The be­gin­ning of the Strez at Lyn­d­hurst.

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