Give trucks priority, transport plan says

Queensland's long-term transport plan calls for trucks to be given priority through dedicated freight lanes and corridors

By Brad Gardner | September 9, 2010

Trucks should be given priority on Brisbane’s road network through the use of dedicated freight lanes and corridors, according to Queensland’s long-term transport plan.

Commissioned by the Queensland Government, the draft SEQ 2031 document outlines a 20-year blueprint for the south east’s transport network. It is currently open for consultation.

Under the plan, trucks will be given precedence to ramps and lanes leading onto motorways where there are high volumes of heavy vehicles. The idea is to use existing assets more efficiently and reduce congestion.

The SEQ 2031 document also recommends the use of priority freight corridors to give sites ready access to motorways, the Port of Brisbane and intermodal terminals.

"These sites should be identified and protected for freight-generating uses and buffered from sensitive uses and passenger network conflicts," the report says.

"Sites with ready access to the interchange on the motorway network are the best locations to locate industry."

According to the document, government should begin planning the protection of corridors from the Gateway Motorway southern extension to Jimboomba, the southern infrastructure road corridor from Jimboomba to Ormeau and the Mt Lindesay Highway deviation west of Beaudesert to Bromelton.

It wants the Government to investigate, procure and protect sites for future road and rail terminals, listing possible locations at Ebenezer, Bromelton and north of Caboolture.

Ebenezer and Bromelton are areas expected to experience a major increase in road freight activity. The report also lists the Brisbane CBD, Acacia Ridge, Ipswich and Wacol.

"Without efficient freight movements the region’s economic growth will be restricted and availability of consumer goods will be reduced."

Similar to the Victorian Transport Plan, SEQ 2031 also wants trucks taken off suburban roads.

It says governments should: "Develop and implement a plan to remove truck movements from urban areas through regulation and electronic enforcement."

Any move will have significant implications for the industry, with the plan saying about 80 percent of the 140,000 heavy articulated and 200,000 medium rigid truck movements on Brisbane’s roads use the suburban arterial network.

"Many of these suburban movements are necessary due to local delivery destinations, while others occur due to a lack of viable alternative route, or a desire to avoid a congested area or tolled motorway," the report says.

Success will depend on whether government acts on the recommendation to protect sites and corridors for the freight task.

"If some of the developable land areas served by routes are taken up with inappropriate uses that do not generate freight needs, the opportunity to reduce freight transport through suburban areas is lost," it says.

As announced by Transport Minister Rachel Nolan, the plan also proposes a north-south connection between Toowong and Everton Park, the full development of a freight terminal at Acacia Ridge south of Brisbane and a ring road system.

"If we can provide the high order orbital or ring road system, heavy traffic and trucks can orbit around communities not barge their way through local roads," Nolan says.

Claiming the freight task will grow by 130 percent to 169 million tonnes per annum between 2001 and 2031, the report recommends an integrated system to improve planning and management.

Labelling its proposal the Connected and Managed Motorway project, the plan wants to develop and manage various components as one network, "not a series of separate facilities".

SEQ 2031 says local government currently controls about 80 percent of the network in the south east region. It claims an integrated system will "maximise performance"

It also flags the use of electronic technology on the road network to provide real-time traffic updates. Doing so, the report says, will help people choose the best method of transport. It also recommends the use of variable speed limits.

"The technology will be able to vary speed limits and traffic flows on ramps and intersections so traffic flow is smoothed across the network, and incidents are detected rapidly," the report says.

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