Truckies will be banned from using the Pacific Highway from the M1 at Wahroonga to Ryde Road in Pymble, if local Sydney residents and their councillor have their way.
Incensed by what they say is a spike in heavy vehicle traffic since the NorthConnex tunnel opened, residents have successfully lobbied their Ku-ring-gai councillor Martin Smith to take their complaints higher.
At the next Ku-ring-gai Council meeting on April 27, Cr Smith is calling for a permanent ban of trucks and buses over the length of 12.5m or over the height of 2.8m travelling between the M1 and Ryde Road unless they have a genuine pick-up or delivery destination only accessible via the Pacific Highway or are a restricted access vehicle.
If supported by councillors, a letter would be sent to Ku-ring-gai State MP Alister Henskens and Transport Minister Andrew Constance seeking their support and consideration by Transport for NSW.
Cr Smith said the proposed Pacific Hwy ban was not about punishing truckies but ensuring safety for residents and other road users on the north shore.
“The truck drivers are trying to earn a living and a lot of them are contractors – If I was a truck driver and there was a free alternative [to the $24.59 per-way NorthConnex toll] I’d probably do the same thing,” reports The Daily Telegraph.
“The aim is to address the increase in the traffic and the danger points. The State Government needs to find a solution.”
Meanwhile, in a statement released today Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) welcomes a review of pricing on the state’s toll-roads, including the potential for the introduction of distance-based tolling.
But RFNSW says the NSW Government must do more to provide financial relief to trucking operators struggling to pay ever-increasing tolls and administration costs.
RFNSW Chief Executive Simon O’Hara says it is imperative the review examine incentives for freight operators for their frequent road toll use.
“We believe that a ‘per km’, distance-based tolling system could be a good first step, with the consideration of a daily cap on tolls for transport operators,” said O’Hara.
“Off peak tolling discounts would also incentivise truckies to take advantage of reduced prices for usage after hours, help ease congestion and have the added safety benefit of reducing levels of light vehicles in non-peak periods.
“RFNSW has long argued that current tolling fees are unfair and inequitable for truck operators, who increasingly, have no alternative than to use expensive toll roads, due to Government regulations.
“If the Government is serious about diverting heavy vehicles off suburban roads, it must incentivise truckies to use toll roads, such as reducing rego fees or providing a specific ‘cash back’ to freight operators.
“Our members need some level of support from the Government, as they continue to struggle to cope with not only significant increases in tolls, but to landside port surcharges and other operational costs.”
O’Hara said RFNSW looks forward to lodging a submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry Into Road Tolling Regimes which will be drawn from the feedback and insights of its members.
In a statement, Transport for NSW said it will “monitor surrounding roads to assess any road network performance issues, one year and five years after the NorthConnex” opening date.