Operators have been encouraged to adopt roadtrains with the opening of the Warialda High Productivity Vehicle Route in Gwydir Shire, New South Wales.
Since its completion one year ago, the four kilometre bypass is reportedly saving transport operators a 144 kilometre round trip while reducing the number of trucks travelling through the Warialda town centre.
As a result, Gwydir Shire Council and its Director Engineering Services, Alex Eddy, is recommending the uptake of roadtrain combinations in the region.
“Agriculture is the biggest industry in Gwydir Shire, so we identified that there was a need to get roadtrains from the very productive areas in the north of our Shire to the Gwydir Highway so they were able to get to eastern markets,” said Eddy.
“For a roadtrain to get from the north of our Shire, east, they were detouring as much as 140 kilometres to the Newell Highway, to Moree onto the Gwydir Highway.
“The bypass itself, we were fairly sure what the traffic volumes were going to be to a large degree because we knew what the truck counts were coming through Warialda.
“What we didn’t know was how many roadtrains that were currently detouring via Moree through to Inverell would then be travelling through our bypass.”
According to Eddy, an increase in roadtrains within Gwydir Shire in recent times has demonstrated positive outcomes.
“We’ve seen as time has gone on, more operators have shifted to roadtrains and that’s been reflected in the traffic make up on the bypass going from fewer B-doubles to more roadtrains,” he said.
“Ultimately, what that means, is there is less vehicles on the road.”
The Warialda High Productivity Vehicle Route project received just over $3 million in funding as part of the Fixing Country Roads Program, which aims to improve freight connectivity and access across regional NSW.
This program, according to Eddy, was essential in making this route a possibility.
“Fixing Country Roads and programs similar to it are absolutely vital to Gwydir Shire,” he said.
“A project like the Warialda Bypass, [costed at] $8.1 million, the likelihood of Council being able to fund that with internal revenue is almost nil.
“So without the Fixing Country Roads Program, projects like this simply wouldn’t happen in Gwydir.”