Trucks to miss out

New road­side stop pro­posal for Tocumwal re­jected

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By So­phie Burge

Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices has de­clined a re­quest to build a new truck stop park­ing area on avail­able land at Tocumwal, ac­cord­ing to Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil.

Coun­cil was li­ais­ing with RMS in the hope of de­vel­op­ing in­terim mea­sures for trucks wish­ing to park to the side of the Newell Hwy (Dean St) at Tocumwal.

The un­marked area once used by trucks for park­ing is now in­ac­ces­si­ble due to road­side tree plant­ings as part of a coun­cil beau­ti­fi­ca­tion project.

Ber­ri­gan Shire said in an ef­fort to rec­tify the un­for­tu­nate con­se­quence, it of­fered to do­nate 14 acres of land so that RMS could build and main­tain a truck stop area.

‘‘The RMS say they don’t have much fund­ing for this (project),’’ shire gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said.

‘‘The point is though, this is a na­tional high­way and not just about Tocumwal — the trucks that stop there are mainly driven down from Queens­land and north­ern New South Wales.

‘‘We’ve been try­ing to get (Mem­ber for Mur­ray) Adrian Pic­coli to help find so­lu­tions as well.’’

De­spite turn­ing down coun­cil’s pro­posal, RMS said they would work with Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil to help find an in­terim truck park­ing so­lu­tion at Tocumwal.

‘‘The NSW Gov­ern­ment agrees there is a need for heavy ve­hi­cle park­ing ar­eas and de­cou­pling bays for heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors along the Newell and this has been high- lighted in the Newell High­way Cor­ri­dor Strat­egy re­leased this year,’’ an RMS spokesper­son said.

‘‘In the 2015/16 bud­get the NSW Gov­ern­ment an­nounced a record $75.4 mil­lion in­vest­ment for the Newell.’’

In re­cent weeks, truck driv­ers have used a small dirt road near the river, just south of Tocumwal, to park for overnight stays.

Tocumwal’s Mar­ion Far­rar, whose hus­band is a truck driver, said the sit­u­a­tion ‘‘is not good enough’’.

She said find­ing an al­ter­na­tive park­ing so­lu­tion at Tocumwal should be a pri­or­ity for RMS due to the town’s border lo­ca­tion.

‘‘There were sev­eral trucks who had no op­tion but to camp there (on the dirt road) dur­ing the re­cent rain event with no proper ameni­ties,’’ she said.

‘‘Two weeks ago, it ap­peared a lo­cal truck­ing com­pany let the trucks park pri­vately on their land, but that’s not sus­tain­able with har­vest com­ing up.

‘‘If there’s a Newell High­way plan, why isn’t this is­sue in­cluded in the plan and why wasn’t it thought about by coun­cil be­fore trees were planted? It needs a long term plan.’’

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