The heavy transport industry has opposed plans that would force heavy vehicles off suburban rat runs and onto the future West Gate Tunnel tollway.
Trucks are to be banned from detouring through a number of key suburban streets in Yarraville and Footscray, as of 2022 after the Western Distributor Project is complete.
In Yarraville, heavy vehicles will be banned from Francis Street and Somerville Road and in Footscray, they won’t be allowed on Buckley and Moore Streets.
The Andrews Government recently announced the ban which would be enforced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forcing trucks to pay a toll to travel the Port of Melbourne through the new West Gate Tunnel. The only trucks allowed will be making local deliveries.
According to reports the impact of the ban on truck drivers has been downplayed by the Andrews government who said it would save truck drivers time and money on avoiding around 17 traffic lights. They also said it would minimise wear and tear on vehicles.
“The freight industry needs an efficient connection to the Port – one that has been specially designed for heavy vehicles – not suburban streets,” Roads Minister Luke Donnellan stated,
Despite the explanation from government, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) said the truck ban would worsen the financial strain on freight operators. The association said the “already under financial attack” operators were suffering due to CityLink toll increases, higher registration charges and already tiny operating margins.
VTA group chief executive, Peter Anderson said government had ignored alternative solutions presented to them by the industry which included exempting vehicles that were quieter and more fuel efficient from curfews, improving the roads on preferred freight routes to make them safer and using technology to enforce restrictions.
“We are also encouraging them to introduce toll reductions and multi-users discounts on existing and future toll roads as an incentive for operators to use toll roads,”
“What is the point of having high-tech, efficient toll roads if operators can’t afford to use them?”
According to The Container Transport Alliance Australian director Neil Chambers, the truck ban in the inner west was a result of “intense political pressure” from residents. Chambers highlighted the importance of giving transport operators a “fair go” in tolling prices.
The alliance also called for a review of inner west arterial and local roads which get more heavy vehicle traffic when curfews are introduced.Find out more http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/truck-ban-for-key-rat-runs-in-yarraville-and-footscray-20170402-gvbrfk.html