Modular B-triple truck configurations will be allowed on the Newell Highway from Narrabri to Goondiwindi from late August.
In announcing the move as part of the national heavy vehicle reforms, Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay said the B-tripled would be allowed to operate on the road train network west of the Newell under the same conditions as type 1 road trains.
“Under this reform transport operators travelling from Far Western NSW, say on the Kamilaroi Highway, will now be able to access the Newell at Narrabri to use the 225 kilometre stretch of highway to Goondiwindi, and then beyond,” Gay said.
Gay said the B-triples were safer than some of the older and heavier combinations using the routes in terms of manoeuvrability and handling performance.
Industry research has shown that a semi-trailer operating at a higher mass limit (HML) takes approximately 37 trips to transport 1,000 tonnes of freight, whereas for the same tonnage a modular B-triple operating at HML only requires about 17 trips.
The stretch of the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi has been determined as having suitable infrastructure to accommodate these types of trucks.
“The bottom line is that modular B-triples – also referred to as high productivity vehicles – will provide a safer, more efficient way of carrying road freight; not to mention reducing truck moments and therefore ‘wear and tear’ on our roads,” Gay said.
The roads west of the Newell on which Type 1 road trains and modular B-triples currently operate have significantly lower traffic volumes than the Newell itself.
For this reason, and to ensure consistency with the existing approach taken for routes on and east of the highway, modular B-triples using the Newell itself will be required to meet additional requirements including:
- Accreditation under the maintenance module of National Heavy Vehicle accreditation Scheme (NHVAS);
- Road friendly suspension; and
- Enrolment in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).
Gay said the requirement for enrolment in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) is a key safety and risk management component to facilitate additional access to the Newell.
“The IAP is a regulatory framework that uses GPS tracking to ensure route compliance, and is aimed to provide governments and communities alike with the confidence that the right loads are travelling on the right roads,” he said.
Gay said the implementation of the B-tripled would assist in linking key supply chains in NSW.
“NSW is a state that relies heavily on the freight industry – worth approximately $58 billion each year and employing 500,000 people. The introduction of modular B-triples on the northern section of the Newell will assist in linking key supply chains such as grain, cotton, livestock and farm and mining equipment with the Port of Brisbane and other parts of western, central and southern Queensland,” Gay explained.