Major flooding in outback Western Australia prompts two emergency notices

A ute navigates a flooded road in outback Western Australia.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has worked with Main Roads Western Australia and the Department for Infrastructure and Transport South Australia, to publish two emergency notices after recent flooding forced the closure of a key rail network.

NHVR Chief Operations Officer Paul Salvati said the notices give consent to increased access for road trains up to 53.5 metres, between Port Augusta in South Australia and the Western Australia border, and then internally into WA.

“Over the past week, we have seen massive amounts of rain fall on the WA outback, inundating roads and damaging key networks, and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected,” Salvati said.

“The flooding in the Eyre Highway area has caused damage to the rail network, forcing it closed.

“In light of this, the NHVR has partnered with WA and SA state transport authorities to deliver this urgent emergency notice.”

Salvati said the notice would provide heavy vehicle drivers and operators with increased flexibility and expedited access to critical routes, facilitating the efficient transport of essential supplies and emergency relief for communities cut off by flooding.

“Truckies have had to take huge detours to reach their destination due to this flooding, and the NHVR recognises the importance of delivering essential items to the affected communities,” he said.

“However, we are also urging drivers to exercise caution when travelling through these conditions, prioritising safety above all else.

“Due to the heightened risk and uncertainty, the NHVR will be proactively patrolling the region to ensure all heavy vehicle drivers are travelling safely.

“We anticipate more trucks on the road during this time, and with the road conditions unpredictable, the NHVR’s priority is safe, efficient heavy vehicle movements.

“The last thing we want to see is overloaded or unsafe truck operations, with compliance paramount during this time,” Salvati continued.

“For any driver navigating these challenging conditions, be prepared by taking any necessary precautions, equip yourself and your vehicle appropriately, and always prioritise safe driving practices to ensure a safe and secure journey.

“Operators should carefully brief any drivers who are new to the route, including on the location of rest areas and fuel stops.”

The NHVR is reminding drivers to make sure they are across the details in these emergency notices before travel.

Drivers should continue to practise safety and drive to the conditions and follow any advice or instruction from local authorities.

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