Flood relief reinforced with road train support

The Flood Relief Permit system has been extended to 27 March to enable 36.5m double road trains access to Perth freight depots under escort from Northam and down Greenmount Hill to Roe Highway.

The extension was authorised by the Government of Western Australia.

It has been reported that 188 convoys of up to four road trains involving a total of 282 vehicles have accessed Roe Highway from Northam since the special conditions were implemented on 2 February 2022.

In the past, 36.5m road trains have had to break down to single trailers or 27.5m combinations at Northam to complete the journey into Perth.

The new measures were put in place to help mitigate impacts caused by the January floods in South Australia which severely disrupted road and rail freight movements.

At the same time, the State Government is allowing the movement of 36.5m road trains up Greenmount Hill, carrying fresh fruit and vegetables for the Eastern States market.

The special permit is open to any transport operator carrying refrigerated perishables only, with one SA-based company having expressed interest and likely to begin eastbound haulage next week.

Permits will be issued under strict regulation, including: Trucks drive up Greenmount Hill only between the hours of 10am and 2pm; they carry product that does not compete with rail freight; and the prime movers are equipped with the latest in safety technology including in-cabin fatigue monitoring systems.

Since 2 February 2022 Western Australia has allowed 53.5m road trains to operate from the SA border to Kalgoorlie, where they are off-loaded onto rail or broken down into 36.5m combinations, again as part of the Flood Relief Permit system.

This will cease on 13 March following a decision by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to end these operations in South Australia on that date.

Last week the, McGowan Government announced the establishment of a taskforce to examine the State’s shipping industry and supply chains, following the disruption caused by the flooding of the east-west rail line.

“We have allowed these longer road trains access to Greenmount Hill eastbound for the first time after carefully considering the safety of the heavy vehicles involved and the safety of all road users,” said Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti.

“The reasoning behind the 10am to 2pm operating period is to limit the number of lighter vehicles mixing with these road trains, which will be travelling very slowly as they climb Greenmount Hill.

“It’s an important step to assist the transport industry delivering perishables to WA supermarkets and then being allowed to backload WA grown produce to SA and other Eastern States markets, particularly in light of the new flood crisis in parts of Queensland and New South Wales.

“The exemptions are aimed at further assisting industry in the re-supply of WA supermarkets following the destructive floods in SA early this year and to assist local growers in getting their product out of the State swiftly.”

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