Over-height taskforce results revealed

Over-height truck incidents in Sydney have dropped by 33 per cent after a taskforce was appointed by NSW Roads Minister John Graham to tackle the issue in mid-2023.

According to the latest figures from Transport for NSW, there were 108 events, as of December 18, 2023, a significant dip from the 2022 high of 161.

The 2023 crackdown resulted in $225,000 in penalties and 492 demerit points. Traffic flow in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel was the biggest winner with a 62 per cent reduction in truck incidents resulting in an 83 per cent reduction in closure minutes. Lane Cove Tunnel also benefited during 2023 with a 71 per cent reduction in closure minutes as a result of a 40 per cent reduction in incidents.

Co-chair Sally Webb was pleased to see that the taskforce, comprising of TfNSW, the NHVR, NSW Police, Road Freight NSW and the TWU, had made such a difference for motorists and freight operators.

She also wanted to thank the trucking industry for its collaboration and engagement.

“Most drivers do the right thing, and most are very experienced and really are professionals in how they operate,” she said.

“They’re committed to driving safely and professionally and operators really want to do the right thing.

“But sometimes drivers will, for whatever reason be off route, or we do see drivers who are potentially new on a route, have an unusual load, or their load has shifted.”

Aside from more engagement with operators on the issue, Webb says solutions have included the installation of new over-height sensors in the lead-up to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, with more to follow on other key entry points into Sydney, and an extensive billboard campaign.

There has also been an enhanced slip-lane for the approach to the southbound Sydney Harbour Tunnel so trucks can be stopped well ahead of time if sensors trigger an over-height issue.

“We’re also exploring other measures such as additional sensors, navigation tools, and route and planning navigation tools, in-cab messaging, and then targeted messaging on digital signage, for drivers.”

Webb says a report will be filed with the minister in February with a recommendation to either “operationalise” the work done, and move to a business-as-usual footing, or continue on with the taskforce.

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