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Fast response in Qld with truck clearance units

Queensland’s heavy vehicle response units to hit the road, with operators undergoing final training

September 16, 2009

The Queensland Government’s much-vaunted heavy vehicle response units, or HVRUs, will soon be tackling highway congestion, with operators undergoing final training.

Designed and manufactured by Queensland companies Ekebol Engineering and Dellgale Cranes, the new clearance units offer a range of solutions for traffic snarls resulting from heavy vehicle breakdowns and crashes.

Heading the list of special features aimed at speeding the clearance task are five hydraulically-controlled winches and associated anchor points to assist in the rolling and movement of heavy vehicles, a hydraulic blade to assist with clearing road debris and traffic warning signs and lights, fire extinguishers and remote cameras at each end of the vehicle.

“These new specially-designed HVRUs will have a significant impact on tackling congestion in Brisbane, cutting the time to move heavy vehicles and their loads from three hours or more to an average target time of 45 minutes,” says Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

Craig Wallace, Queensland’s Minister for Main Roads, says the HVRUs will provide quick clearance solutions by responding immediately to incident scenes in south-east Queensland – including the Bruce Highway to Caloundra, the Pacific Motorway to Nerang and the ranges on the Cunningham and Warrego highways – between 4am and 6pm weekdays, and being on-call all other hours.

“Once the scene is deemed safe by emergency services, the HVRUs will move the heavy vehicle and their loads off the road, and the truck can then be retrieved by their owner at a more convenient time when traffic volumes are at minimum levels, for example after 9pm,” Wallace says.

“They go beyond conventional towing methods and use special features to quickly remove an immobilised, rolled or damaged heavy vehicle. Previously, we had been reliant on owners of heavy vehicles or insurance providers to arrange removal and clean-up of the vehicle and cargo, which could often take longer than three hours.”

In the past 12 months, there have been 176 major incidents involving heavy vehicles in the Brisbane metropolitan area, including 32 truck rollovers, Bligh says.

The HVRUs are part of the Queensland Government’s fast incident response plan, which included a budget of $6.5 million for the two vehicles.

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