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TfNSW prepares for action on Sheahan Bridge

Bolstering the infrastructure for greater short-term access being investigated

 

Transport for New South Wales’ (TfNSW) moves are afoot on the ageing Sheahan Bridge northbound at Gundagai, NSW’s Livestock Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) report.

Transport for NSW has announced that short-term improvements will be carried out to improve access, while planning work is underway to ensure future capacity and efficiency for heavy vehicles on the Hume Highway.

“Sheahan Bridge northbound, over the Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai, was built in 1977 to the standards of the day, however, modern heavy vehicles are now capable of carrying heavier and longer loads than could have ever been imagined 44 years ago,” the LBRCA points out.

“Due to the bridge’s design capabilities, it has previously been inaccessible for Higher Productivity Vehicles.

“However, following the weather event in March and demolition of Wallendbeen Bridge on Burley Griffin Way, Sheahan Bridge northbound has been opened, under permit, to these vehicles to allow the efficient transportation of freight.

“To allow this short-term measure, TfNSW are investigating a series of non-infrastructure solutions to ensure the bridge remains safe and fit-for-purpose, including limiting the northbound bridge to one lane of traffic for trucks and installing cameras and monitoring equipment on the bridge to identify vehicle numbers, loads and how the bridge responds to these loads.” 

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) welcomed initial moves to address the bridge’s issues last September.


Read about the ATA’s view of Sheahan Bridge’s strategic nature, here


NatRoad underlines that the Hume Highway is the nation’s busiest interstate freight route and carries 40 per cent of the total national road freight task.

“NatRoad supports the work of Transport for NSW to make the much-needed upgrades to the bridge required for accessibility to all heavy vehicles using this major route but especially an expansion of capacity so that 30 metre A-doubles or quad B-doubles can be used on the entire length of the Hume Highway and operate under a notice rather than on a limited permit basis,” it says.

“More must also be done to provide a larger number of rest areas along the Hume as well as upgrades to existing rest areas along the highway to allow for the longer length of combinations.”

The LBRCA notes two main actions that can be expected:

  • Over the coming months, TfNSW will be carrying out short-term improvements. This may include the introduction of a heavy vehicle lane restriction, upgrades to line marking and installation of data collection cameras
  • There may be temporary traffic changes.  Electronic signage near the bridge will alert road users to the changed conditions.

 

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