Cyclone Debbie: Two weeks of road disruption forecast


OSOM vehicles, dangerous goods and agricultural vehicles prohibited access to affected areas for now

Cyclone Debbie: Two weeks of road disruption forecast
Heavy vehicle drivers carrying out 'critical' work in the affected region will be exempt from NHVR’s work and rest obligations.

 

Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon warns that changes in road conditions following Cyclone Debbie will impact forward journeys to the affected region for the next two weeks.

"All indicators are that the Bruce Highway will be cut for some time, as the rains pass through the western areas, 80 per cent weight restrictions on loads will be applied as roads become saturated. 

Mahon also warns about "high expectations" of significant rain between Clermont and Charters Towers today.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have restricted the movement of certain freight transport vehicles within areas affected by the cyclone until later today.

The restriction is due to be reassessed later today but until then all oversize and/or overmass (OSOM) vehicles, dangerous goods and agricultural vehicles have been barred access in the cyclone-hit region.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is urging operators to curtail all "non-essential" travel to the affected area until the situation improves.

Operators are advised to monitor conditions of operation on the TMR database.

Those who wish to access specific information on alternative routes can contact Flood Recovery Road Access Group (FRRAG), a joint imitative of TMR and QPS to manage emergency heavy vehicle access under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) provisions, through the hotline number 07 3066 5511.

TMR states that the hotline "will enable operators to access specific information on alternative routes they can use.

"They can apply for heavy vehicle emergency permits that cannot be provided through normal processes in affected regions, or when special access is required in cases of emergency or great need."

However, the emergency access permits will only apply in areas affected by the cyclone.

Due to the unpredictability of the weather conditions, TMR has not been able to predict a specific coastal crossing area.

The regulator states that heavy vehicle drivers carrying out "critical" work in the affected region will be exempt from NHVR’s work and rest obligations:

"Anyone acting for or directed by an emergency service and who has time critical duties on the way to or during activities relating to Cyclone Debbie is exempt from work and rest limits and requirements to carry and keep a work diary."

QTA has released important driving tips for these conditions:

  • "Plan the time and route of travel to avoid damaged and flooded roads
  • Obey the road closure signs, signage is enforceable (you need to seek permission to go past)
  • Consider stopping if necessary, there are always alternate options
  • Be prepared for unexpected actions of other drivers
  • Use your headlights to see and be seen
  • Lower your speeds and drive to the prevailing conditions
  • Have a ‘Communication Plan for Isolated Workers’ and be prepared in the event of becoming isolated by flooding
  • Ensure your Critical Incident Management Plan is practised."

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