Western Australia's State Government has paved the way for the use of extra-long road trains in the Pilbara region.
State Transport Minister, Dean Nalder, said the new road trains were “longer, but safer than any seen on Australian roads before” – with the prime mover and four trailers spanning a total of 60m.
According to Nalder, the newly approved vehicles are set to embark on a three-month trial traveling on a section of the Great Northern Highway between Munjina-Roy Hill Road and Utah Point, Port Hedland.
"These vehicles are known as Superquads and we have committed to an Australian-first trial of these roads trains to operate in the Pilbara region," Nalder said – pointing out the road trains have undergone – and passed – rigorous safety assessments to ensure they are safe to operate on public roads.
"Even though they are longer, these are state-of-the-art vehicles with improved safety and superior handling compared to the standard 53.5m road trains, the longest currently allowed on our roads," the Minister said.
The first two state-of-the-art vehicles have been manufactured by WA trailer manufacturers, Bruce Rock Engineering and Howard Porter, to transport iron ore and other minerals for Process Minerals International and Qube Bulk (Trailer will exclusively report on one of the units in its upcoming October edition).
Though capable of higher speeds, the road trains will be limited to 90km/h, allowing easier overtaking by other vehicles and ensuring superior on-road performance.
Nalder said the trial provided the mining industry with “greater productivity and lower operating costs”, reducing the number of vehicles on the road in the long-term and introducing a safer vehicle to local roads.
The trial will assess impact on the road infrastructure and other road users, such as pavement assessments, traffic data, community surveys and on-road monitoring.
The vehicle combinations will be assessed by a panel of the Road Safety Commission, local government, WA Police, Main Roads and the caravanning industry.