Truck restrictions begin; VicRoads to monitor scheme

A monitoring group will be set up in Victoria to oversee the effect of truck restrictions in Victoria from tomorrow

By Brad Gardner | June 30, 2010

A group will be established in Victoria to monitor the effect of lane restrictions on trucks that begin tomorrow.

Police and VicRoads officers will enforce truck bans from right hand lanes on the Princes Freeway from July 1, handing out a maximum fine of $358 for drivers who breach the law.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) earlier this year said it would work with the Government to monitor the initiative, which applies to vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

ATN understands the VTA will be representing trucking operators on the group and using feedback from the industry to identify problems and recommend changes if necessary. The group is being established by VicRoads.

A VicRoads information bulletin says the restrictions mean freight travelling on the Princes Freeway will be prohibited from using the right lane for about 39km between Kororoit Road at Altona and Avalon Road at Lara.

Earlier this year, VTA Chief Executive Phil Lovel claimed the restrictions should not compromise safety or efficiency.

He also has spoke of potential issues that needed to be monitored, such as safety around merging on and off freeways, tollways and the Western Ring Road.

Lovel raised particular concerns about the Bolte Bridge because traffic goes straight into the right hand lane toward the Burnley Tunnel.

"This will make it most difficult for truck drivers to then merge back to the left-hand lanes to obey the new laws. There is likely to be increased overtaking in the left lane, especially if motorists are not keeping up with the speed limits," Lovel says.

"Soon afterwards, lane restrictions will apply on EastLink where it has at least three lanes," a VicRoads information bulletin says.

"These restrictions are only the beginning, with lane restrictions to be rolled out on other suitable three-lane freeways in the future."

Signs have been erected to warn motorists of the restrictions and an education campaign is being launched to encourage motorists to share the road.

"This new measure encourages better road sharing and will therefore improve safety, while the restrictions are also expected to improve traffic flow and travel times," Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says.

As well as extending the restrictions to the EastLink, Pallas says the Government is also looking at the Eastern Freeway and West Gate Freeway, CityLink, the M1 corridor and the M80 Ring Road.

Are lane restrictions a good idea? Should trucks be banned from right hand lanes? Will it improve safety and traffic flow? Leave your thoughts below.

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