B-triple network expanded to Newell Highway

Wednesday 31 July 2013

B-triple network expanded to Newell Highway

Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay today announced modular B-triple truck configurations will be allowed on the Newell Highway from Narrabri to Goondiwindi.

“As part of national heavy vehicle reforms, modular B-triples are 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,” Minister Gay said.

As shown below, even though they have an extra (third) trailer, modular B-triples are typically shorter than Type 1 road trains currently operating on this section of the Newell.

Modern modular B-double and B-triple

 “Overall, modern modular B-triples are safer than some of the older and heavier vehicle combinations using these routes, especially in terms of their manoeuvrability and handling performance – being articulated they ‘track’ better on the road,” said Minister Gay.

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 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.”

The stretch of the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi has been determined as having suitable infrastructure to accommodate these types of trucks.

“For example, last year as part of a record $20 million funding package to fast-track improvements on the Newell, the NSW Government completed three additional overtaking lanes north of Narrabri, while construction on yet another passing lane north of Moree will commence in September this year.”

However it is important to recognise that 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).
  • These requirements will help to ensure vehicles are safe and that roads, bridges and culverts are protected.

Consistent with requirements already in place for road trains and modular B-triples in this part of NSW, vehicles will need to comply with a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h.

Minister 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.

In April this year, the NSW Government and Transport Certification Australia (TCA) announced a new entry options initiative and flexible pricing framework to help reduce the costs of transport operators implementing and using IAP.

The entry options arrangement recognises transport operators have existing in-vehicle GPS units and makes it easier for transport operators to have their existing in-vehicle units assessed and type-approved to comply with national IAP standards.

These reforms make the IAP scheme more accessible and cost effective for industry.

“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.”

Modular B-triples are expected to start using the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Goondiwindi from late August, subject to permit approval.

Operators interested in applying for permits should contact iap@rms.nsw.gov.au

Media: Marie Scoutas 0467 739 976

View the original media release (PDF)

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