Mystery around Vic super B-double trials

State Government admits it may need to upgrade roads before it launches trials of super B-double combinations

Mystery around Vic super B-double trials
Mystery around Vic super B-double trials
By Samantha Freestone

There remains mystery surrounding the introduction of super B-doubles to the Victorian road network, with the State Government admitting it may need to upgrade roads first.

The Government announced two trials for the vehicles – around the State’s ‘green triangle in regional Victoria and on Melbourne’s key arterials during off-peak times – as part of its transport plan released earlier this week.

The trials, which will run a B-double combination of two 40-foot containers, are due to begin next year but Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas refuses to give any specific dates.

"It is going to be very dependent on what upgrades need to be done to the roads they run on," a spokesperson tells ATN.

"What we can say is that they will be rolled out progressively throughout 2009."

The vehicles will run on the West Gate Freeway, the Hume Highway and the Western Ring Road outside of peak times.

Meanwhile, industry technical consultant John Lambert has renewed his concerns over the safety of the super B-double combinations.

Lambert, a former VicRoads and Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) staffer who now calls himself a "heavy vehicle safety advocate", says the vehicles were originally designed for a specific task moving freight between Dynon Road and the Port of Melbourne.

He questions the stability of the combination on longer journeys, saying they are "far from the best vehicle for the task".

He says modern road trains, of which he is a long-time advocate, are a much safer option.

"A road train using modern air suspension is safer than using a B-double carrying the same load," he says.

But he says VicRoads decided against using road trains due to their reputation "at the time, which was decades ago now".

"B-triples are not the way to go, neither are these units," he says.

"The down side is that any articulated vehicle rolls from the rear. Road trains won’t necessarily roll over [completely] if the rear trailer rolls [un-like B-Doubles]."

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