Industry raises concern over Coode Road closure

By: Anjali Behl


Operators say the road closure will affect productivity and operational costs, and cause more traffic congestion in the area

Industry raises concern over Coode Road closure
Operators say that closing Coode Rd will result in traffic congestion and long truck queues on Footscray Rd.

 

Road transport companies have raised concerns over potential problems following the closure of Coode Road as DP World continues work at the Port of Melbourne’s Swanson Dock facility.

The road closure has not yet been officially approved by the Port of Melbourne and DP World states that it is currently working with port authorities and "other relevant stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome for all".

ATN speaks to road transport companies operating in the area to find out the implications to their businesses as a result of this move.

If approved, the port-owned Coode Rd closure will mean truck drivers will have to use Footscray Rd instead of Coode Rd or Mackenzie Rd.

Currently, the maximum gross vehicle mass (GVM) along both Coode Rd and Mackenzie Rd is 109t, while the maximum GVM on Footscray Rd is 77t.

A diversion to Footscray Rd will have direct impact on road transport operators, who will either have to put more number of trucks on the road or authorise more individual truck trips to interchange the same number of containers.

Operators say that the impact will not remain limited to productivity and operational costs, they also highlight the risk of further traffic congestion, increase in emissions plus, a potential increase in prices of commodities being passed on to consumers.

Some transporters also complain about the existing traffic congestion and long truck queues on Coode Road, which would spill over to Footscray Rd once the former is closed off.

Some others express their dissatisfaction over DP World’s handling of transporter woes since the beginning of work on its Bentley Chemplax site.

"There are already serious questions over DP World’s performance as a loading manager under Chain of Responsibility legislation, and these would be exacerbated if trucks were forced to queue along Footscray Rd," one road transport operator says.

Operators suggest a few measures before the road closure is approved by the port authorities:

  • Upgrade Footscray Rd to allow 109t GVM vehicles.
  • Create an alternative access route for over-sized vehicles.
  • Reach an agreement with the industry to monitor DP World’s performance as a loading manager, with penalties in place if the company is unable to meet the benchmark loading performance targets.

The Port authorities tell ATN that there is "no precise time frame" for the closure but they are working to achieve the best results for all concerned.

While DP World did not comment on the concerns raised by transporters, it told ATN that it aims to complete the closure of the western end of Coode Road in a "timely manner".

"We are working closely with the Port of Melbourne, and other key stakeholders such as port users to ensure the best outcome for all," the company states.

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