NSW bush fires affects freight services

Road freight in and out of the Sydney region has been affected by the multiple bush fires burning in the areas surrounding the three main road routes to Australia’s largest city. While the fires to the north around Raymond Terrace and Heatherbrae near Newcastle are now mostly under control, areas around the Hume Highway to the south and the Great Western Highway to the west were still under threat.

Following suspension of its operations in the area on Monday of this week, StarTrack had said that it will attempt to make freight pick-ups and deliveries in areas west of Emu Plains and in the Blue Mountains when possible, however the company’s drivers will be working with caution.

Fires in the NSW Southern Highlands may also delay StarTrack pick-ups and deliveries in Yerrinbool, Balmoral, Yanderra, Pheasants Nest, Wilton, Bargo, Buxton, Hill Top, Alpine/Aylmerton and Couridjah.

In a statement, Mainfreight said that its drivers would be doing their best to make deliveries when it is safe to do so in areas affected by fires and the company appreciated the understanding and patience of its clients. Other carriers experienced similar difficulties.

The areas affected continue to be on high alert and all motorists including drivers of heavy vehicles have been urged to be aware of possible road closures and the extreme weather forecast over the next few days. Drivers have also been warned about the possibility of becoming stranded in highway traffic as happened on the Hume Highway late last week when fires caused the road to be blocked.

“The key message is ‘be prepared', make sure you have plenty of water to drink, long sleeved shirts and long pants to protect you from radiant heat, and face masks and glasses to protect you from smoke.” said Jodie Broadbent NSW Manager of the Australian Trucking Association. “We (the ATA) are issuing member updates as soon as we can about road closures caused by the fires. These road closures are put in place to protect you; do not treat them lightly. Visibility may be reduced due to smoke and livestock may be wandering on or near roads if fences have been burned.”

On Wednesday morning NSW Police urged heavy vehicle drivers to avoid the Blue Mountains area and announced all over-dimension escort permits through the area had been revoked.

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