Truckies’ input essential for success of Tiaro rest area: Hannifey


Venerable truckie Rod Hannifey is imploring authorities to give drivers a louder voice when it comes to the design of proposed rest area facilities on the much-anticipated Tiaro Bypass in Queensland.

After lobbying for an input last year, the president of the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) said he’d heard nothing further from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) about the $336 million project.

But now the detailed design phase has finally started with the contract recently awarded to Arup Australia and SMEC Australia, TMR tells Big Rigs that dialogue with the NRFA and the Queensland Trucking Association will resume shortly.

“We will have further discussions with these stakeholders over the next 12 to 18 months to finalise a design for the heavy vehicle facilities,” a TMR spokesperson said.

Hannifey said it’s imperative that TMR and designers follow through on that promise and include open discussions with as many drivers as possible.

With a dearth of rest areas close to Brisbane, Tiaro, just 230km to the north, can plug a glaring gap in the fatigue management network if authorities get it right, he said.

“You’ve virtually only got the BP at Burpengary or you’re buggered, unless you can get to the Shell at Nudgee,” said Hannifey.

“But if they’re going to go and build something with the best of intent without talking to someone who is going to sleep in it, then they are likely to fail. They must open it up to more discussion with drivers.

“Unless they have the knowledge of drivers, what they intend and what they supply could vastly miss the mark.

“Until they include us, we are failing truck drivers by not supplying what they need, and spending a lot of money on something people think we want.”

Hannifey said you only have to look at the Sleepy Hollow rest area just south of Chinderah which has five noisy truck bays that face the road, instead of being in the back, to see how badly it can go wrong.

When he tracked down the engineer responsible to ask why he’d opted for that design, Hannifey said he was told it wouldn’t have been more expensive to give truckies more peace, but the engineer hadn’t thought of it and didn’t know who to talk to.

“Yet here we are 20 years on having the same conversations. I’ve badgered nearly every person on earth who has anything to do with rest areas, and yet here’s Tiaro going up and they haven’t contacted me, I’ve had to go to them, and the same thing is happening elsewhere.”

Hannifey said he’d like to see northbound and southbound areas set up as parallel parking at Tiaro.

“We’re getting longer vehicles, and they will be running up there again soon. Her- ringbone is a problem unless it is very good drive-through and you can’t get any good shade with it.

“And if you’re the poor bugger who pulls up and a stock crate pulls up on one side and a fridge van on the other, and you’ve planned to have seven hours sleep, how’s that going to work?”

QTA CEO Gary Mahon was pleased to hear that the consultation process would finally be resuming after months of radio silence.

Mahon said it’s a relatively logical place to have your last break before a driver heads on down into the congestion of Brisbane.

“As Rod said he’s pulled up, or slowed down a lot of times at that BP at Burpengary and almost inevitably all spaces are filled,” said Mahon.

“The same heading out [of Brisbane], it makes a fair amount of sense to take a bit of a breather after you’ve loaded, you’re out through the traffic and through the busy sections.”

Ideally, Mahon would like to see in the vicinity of 20 parking bays for trucks and is keen on the Herringbone pattern, although also sees merit in Hannifey’s parallel parking alternative.

“We were also saying showers and the like aren’t really necessary but toilets were.”

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