Truckie fined $711 after trying to avoid busy town centre

A rural NSW transport operator, who was recently fined $711 when he tried to avoid a town’s busy main centre in his B-double due to safety concerns, says he plans to take the matter further.

Brian Leihn runs a farm along with a transport business called Frontier Ag Solutions in the small town of Rugby in the Southern Tablelands region of NSW, where he’s been for the past nine years. He runs a fleet of three 26-metre B-doubles, which are used for livestock and tipper work.

He regularly travels through Boorowa, a picturesque little town about 26 kilometres from his base.

The town’s main centre runs along Marsden street and Pudman Street, with the latter being home to an IGA supermarket, chemist, coffee shop and various other businesses.

Leihn’s B-double travelling along the busy strip.

With nose to kerb angle parking along Pudman Street, decorative rose bushes running through the centre of the road and high pedestrian traffic, including people unloading trolleys behind their parked cars, Leihn thought he was doing the right thing by avoiding it while travelling in his B-double.

Interestingly though, this section of road is approved for B-double use. When Leihn was recently pulled up for travelling along a section of nearby Brial Street, he says the enforcement officer advised he should’ve been travelling through Pudman Street.

“The only B-double route in 150km going east from our base is Brial Street. I’ve been running this business for nine years and have never travelled down Pudman Street once. Both the manager at IGA and at the chemist said they’ve never seen a B-double on this road,” said Leihn.

“It’s a narrow street which has been made narrow due to an island with roses and flowers, and the fact that people have to nose in to park.

“For the last nine years that I’ve been in this district, I have always used Brial Street, which goes onto the B-double route – no truck in their right mind would use Pudman Street.

“Imagine a 26-metre fully loaded b-double coming down that’s a maximum of a metre to a metre and a half away from people emptying their trolleys. And they can’t see you coming until they get out in front of the truck.”

Big Rigs contacted the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for further information about the route.

“The approved route for 25/26m B-double access through Boorowa is Pudman Street, Court Street, Brial Street and Long Street as per the NSW Restricted Access Vehicle (RAV) maps and Lists,” said the regulator.

While B-doubles are able to travel through the town centre on Pudman Street, the section that follows, which is near a school, is not an approved B-double route.

On Brial Street, only part of the road is approved as a B-double route. “Brial Street is not an approved B-double route from Murringo Road to the intersection of Court Street as per the NSW RAV maps and lists,” advised the NHVR.

Leihn says he was pulled up nearly three weeks ago. “They pulled me up on the side of the road and said, ‘Look I’m very sympathetic, I know the street, I’ll talk to my boss before I write this up.’ He goes back that night and talks to him. I asked if anything was going to be done about this road. He said you’re off route, go talk to the council, government or the NHVR.”

“I explained why I don’t use Pudman Street – because it’s dangerous for pedestrians. You’ve got people getting in and out of cars, people backing out in front of trucks.

“They’re basically taking us from a nice wide open street with no shopping centre or businesses there, and saying you now have to go down the main street past the IGA, straight through the heart of town.”

He continued, “I came through there last Friday afternoon and it’s really busy then. There was a lady standing at the back of her vehicle, she opened the boot up and realised there was a truck coming past and had her mouth wide open in shock. It’s a 40km/h street and I was doing 10-15km/h. If anyone backs out in front of me, I can’t stop.”

He says using Pudman Street in a B-double is dangerous for pedestrians, who are often unloading trolleys behind their cars.

Sue Corcoran is co-owner of the Boorowa Pharmacy on Pudman Street. She explained, “We have nose to curb angle parking along the street, so there’s elderly people backing out with their cars. I can see why it wouldn’t be a good idea to have these bigger trucks going through here.

“I agree with Brian that it’s not great to be driving down here in a B-double during business hours. It’s quite narrow, there’s not a lot of room and the street is divided with rose gardens in the middle of it.”

Corcoran added, “I understand Brian’s annoyance at being fined. Boorowa is a small town and there’s really only two blocks in the town where there is significant traffic, so it is the right thing to support him.”

The town of Boorowa falls under the Hilltops Council, which Leihn has approached about the issue.

When contacted for comment, the council said, “We’ve taken notes of his concern. This is a route that’s been on the NHVR register for many years. We will have to look into this but it is a process.”

Leihn is now planning to start a petition in the hope of future change.

“I’m also taking that $711 fine to court. We’re going to make a video too of what it’s like to be standing at the back of your cars and have trucks coming down at you. Imagine a mother backing out with two little kids in the back seat, who’s going to get hit first? And then there’s the trauma for the truck driver too. Imagine if they killed someone.”

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