The NSW Government is stepping up the campaign to end overheight truck incidents in Sydney’s tunnel network, with new public warnings of the tougher penalties that now apply.
In partnership with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Transport for NSW has launched billboards at 31 key locations around Sydney, warning truck drivers that registration suspensions of six months are in force for the owners of heavy vehicles that fall foul of load height limits.
Billboard locations include Port Botany, on the southern approach to the Eastern Distributor, Domain and Sydney Harbour Tunnels and the northern approach to the Lane Cove Tunnel.
Repeated incidents at these tunnels and the Cooks River and Airport Tunnels have risked the safety of private motorists and inconvenienced thousands as authorities back up and divert overheight vehicles in heavy traffic.
Under a deal with the NHVR, all incidents of overheight breaches are now referred automatically to Transport for NSW, with 18 cases referred since the agreement was signed.
“If there are truck drivers in NSW who still don’t know we have a zero tolerance approach to overheight load breaches, we are putting it up in lights on billboards for them,” said NSW Minister for Roads John Graham.
“We will keep working to reduce these city-choking incidents until they are a thing of the past.
“The vast majority of truck drivers do the right thing and I want to thank them. We all appreciate the essential service the freight industry plays in our lives, particularly in lead up to the Christmas season, but we can’t let a handful of under-trained drivers hold traffic hostage to their lack of planning and preparation.”
In August, seven incidents were recorded, down from 13 in May when the deal with NHVR was struck. November is traditionally the worst month for overheight incidents due to the increased movement of freight ahead of Christmas.
Two companies were hit with vehicle registration suspensions in July and August compared to eight in the month of June.
Following the formation of the Overheight Truck Taskforce, new infrastructure was added to the southbound approach to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel allowing earlier detection and warning which has assisted police, NHVR and Transport for NSW in getting traffic moving again faster.
NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said it’s pleasing to see a reduction in overheight incidents since the preventative and enforcement measures have been implemented.
“The new billboards are another mechanism to educate and remind operators and drivers to measure the height of their truck and plan their journey ahead of time, to ensure they comply with tunnel height clearances,” he added.