Truckies take care

Truck drivers going the extra mile to deliver supplies to flood-stricken areas are urged to rest

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 10, 2011

Truck drivers who are adding extra kilometres to their regular journey due to flooding and road closures are reminded to manage their fatigue, NatRoad says.

Natroad Chief Executive Officer Bernie Belacic says north-west Queensland's flooding and damaged infrastructure means that many drivers spend extra hours doing detours delivering supplies.

"Food and groceries are the need of life and at the end of the day that's what the trucking industry is doing in Queensland between those areas that are flooded," Belacic says.

"The challenge for operators and drivers is to respond to situations and to manage their fatigue as best as they can.

"The trucking industry always responds and helps out communities and their clients all the time and it will continue to do that; if more vehicles are needed then there are other areas in the country which are a bit quiet at the moment and I'm sure they will respond and get on with the job," he adds.

"I don't think anyone is stressed beyond capacity."

Heavy vehicles have been banned from using the North Burnett Council’s roads in Queensland due to flood damage.

The temporary load restriction came into place last month and restricts 15 tonnes trucks
from using council roads but allows some drivers to apply for an exemption.

North Burnett extends from Eidsvold in the west to Bundaberg and Maryborough in the east, and from Monto in the north to Kingaroy in the south.

The council’s Mayor Joe Jensen says the road network is in a "catastrophic" state.

"We have estimated the cost to rebuild our assets to about $20 million and we don’t want to increase that cost if we can avoid it.

"We need to move quickly to stop more damage occurring from vehicles that are too heavy for the pavements in their current wet condition," Jensen says.

"A number of heavy vehicles have fallen through our roads and caused severe damage and inconvenience to other road users.

"We need the community to work with us on this issue otherwise we will suffer more."

An infrastructure recovery committee has been formed to guide the reconstruction of damaged assets and to protect roads from further damage, she says.

"Council is seeking funding assistance through the natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements to fund reconstruction of the damaged assets.

"We are asking everyone to work with us and to contact us with any issues that they may have.

"This was a terrible event but together we will get through it."

Burnett Livestock and Realty Director Lance Whitaker says many of his customers now travel another 60km due to the ban.

"It just makes it a bit more awkward to organise the load but I can understand why the council did it, I have no problems with that," Whitaker says.

"At least now where ever you go they are fixing the roads so it's a good thing."

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