The Flood Relief Permit system has been extended until March 27 enabling 36.5-metre double road trains access to Perth freight depots under escort from Northam and down Greenmount Hill to Roe Highway.
So far, 188 convoys of up to four road trains involving a total of 282 vehicles have accessed Roe Highway from Northam since the special conditions started on February 2.
In the past, 36.5m road trains have had to break down to single trailers or 27.5m combinations at Northam to complete the journey into Perth.
The new measures were put in place to help mitigate impacts caused by the January floods in South Australia which severely disrupted road and rail freight movements.
At the same time, the state government is allowing the movement of 36.5m road trains up Greenmount Hill, carrying fresh fruit and vegetables for the eastern states’ market.
The special permit is open to any transport operator carrying refrigerated perishables only, with one SA-based company having expressed interest and likely to begin eastbound haulage next week.
“We have allowed these longer road trains access to Greenmount Hill eastbound for the first time after carefully considering the safety of the heavy vehicles involved and the safety of all road users,” said Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
Permits will be issued under strict regulation, including:
- trucks drive up Greenmount Hill only between the hours of 10am and 2pm;
- they carry product that does not compete with rail freight; and
- the prime movers are equipped with the latest in safety technology including in-cabin fatigue monitoring systems.
Since February 2, Western Australia has allowed 53.5m road trains to operate from the SA border to Kalgoorlie, where they are off-loaded onto rail or broken down into 36.5m combinations, again as part of the Flood Relief Permit system.
This finished on March 13 following a decision by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to end these operations in SA on that date.
Earlier this month the McGowan government announced the establishment of a taskforce to examine the state’s shipping industry and supply chains, following the disruption caused by the flooding of the east-west rail line.