Greens move to prevent last mile access until trial

Greens push Victorian Government to subject large trucks to a trial before any last mile applications are approved

Greens move to prevent last mile access until trial
Greens move to prevent last mile access until trial
By Brad Gardner | June 12, 2013

The Victorian Greens are moving to prevent last mile access applications for larger trucks being granted until a trial is completed to gauge the impact of the rigs on the community.

Greens MP Colleen Hartland wants Transport Minister Terry Mulder to run a trial in Melbourne’s west following the release of a 2012 report noting only one Melbourne trucking operator participated in VicRoads’ two-year trial of high productivity freight vehicles.

Applications have been lodged for access to local streets in Melboune’s west near the Port of Melbourne since the Victorian Government announced a plan earlier this year to expand access for B-triples and B-doubles.

"The action I seek of the [transport] minister is that he conduct a real trial of the impacts of health and infrastructure of having trucks of up to 36.5 metres long on roads in the west before the last mile access is granted, and that any relevant roads and bridges be assessed for their safety under the pressure of these 36.5-metre-long trucks," Hartland says.

"Without a proper trial, it is difficult to know what the impact of these freight trucks of up to 36.5 metres long will be.

"We need to know what impact these bigger trucks will have on roads, bridges, noise and health before they hit our streets in large numbers."

The Government will allow B-triples up to 36.5 metres long with a gross mass of 68.5 tonnes to haul freight from the Port of Melbourne to regional Victoria using the Princes Highway and the Western, Calder and Hume freeways.

Metropolitan access has been limited to 30 metre B-doubles carrying a gross mass of up to 68.5 tonnes. The combinations will will be allowed on routes such as the Monash, West Gate, Tullamarine, Calder, Hume and Princes freeways, CityLink and EastLink.

The trucks must be enrolled in the Intelligent Access Program (IAP), limited to 90km/h and gain Performance Based Standards (PBS) certification.

Hartland has seized on the 2012 report’s findings, from transport consultant Rob Di Cristoforo and obtained by The Age, that heavier trucks would test the load capacity of roads and bridges.

Hartland also used the latest report from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on the noise monitoring program on Francis Street in Yarraville to again argue the case for a greater reliance on rail freight.

Published last week, the report says traffic noise levels are high enough to cause annoyance and disturb speech and sleep.

"Francis Street is busy, with an estimated 20,000 cars and trucks travelling each weekday between Williamstown Road and Whitehall Street," the report says.

The EPA says pollution levels are slightly higher compared to the results of other monitoring stations in neighbouring residential areas.

The 12-month monitoring program began in May last year to measure the air quality in Francis Street against daily and annual health standards. The EPA says a final report will be published once the trial has finished and results have been analysed.

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