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NSW authorities take aim at rail link haulage operator

New overweight and oversize permit breaches raise ire at NSW Police and RMS


New South Wales Police has put a heavy haulage operator in the frame for flouting oversize and overmass rules on a cargo of boring equipment for Sydney’s North West Rail Link project.

The Thiess John Holland Dragados (TJHD) rail project has attracted unwanted attention having experienced a third breach of size and mass regulations in two weeks, and the outcome is likely to be expensive for the unnamed operator on several fronts.

Following an intercept yesterday, police allege the original permit had not been complied with and the rear push truck was deficient in its traffic warning functions.

That truck was identified as having a “substantial” weight breach on the steer axle.

It was grounded at Carrington pending rectification of the permit, loading and dimensions but the weight issue could not be rectified.

“Despite our intercept in the early hours of this morning, inquiries suggest that in fact the push truck was already found to be overweight on the steer axles before it left the yard by the operator,  who elected to move the load anyway, which is quite a concern,” NSW Police assistant commissioner John Hartley, states.

“Any vehicles escorting or pushing an oversize/overmass load must have all safety features visible and operating in order to alert other road users that they may need to use caution when near or passing the combination.

TJHD has a 112-page construction traffic management plan agreed with the State Government that covers broadly the road and traffic impacts of haulage and construction activities.

Over the past 18 months, planning involving government agencies including Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the Department of Planning and councils was undertaken and a traffic and transport liaison group was set up.

TJHD also has a full time traffic and logistics manager.

The ‘Haulage and Delivery Operations’ section of the traffic plan states: “Before any haulage/deliveries are undertaken all heavy vehicle drivers are required to read and sign onto the Heavy Vehicle Drivers Code of Conduct.”

“This is a project created code and works with the Australian Road Rules and experience of each driver.”

It is not clear if there is a similar code of conduct for haulage contractors.

RMS director of safety and compliance Peter Wells says the department will continue to work with NSW Police to “identify any rogue operators and other parties who ignore permitted mass limits which risk the safety of other road users”.

“This is not good enough and the actions of this operator and other parties in the supply chain relating to these loads will be investigated under chain of responsibility provisions,” Wells says.

“There are good honest trucking operators who get this right and we welcome their professionalism and care in moving oversize and overmass loads.

“It is disappointing to me that some of the operators aren’t complying with the law. The community expects this as a starting point. Simply put, they must operate the very wide and heavy loads legally and safely.”

Despite what planning has occurred, State transport minister Gladys Berejiklian, who is responsible for the rail project, believes more needs to be done and that the trucking firm involved is on the outer.

“I am very disappointed to hear about the latest incident and I understand a new transport provider is being sourced,” Berejiklian says.

“Given the scale and magnitude of this project, clearly there are challenges we need to manage.”

ATN was awaiting a response from TJHD at deadline.

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