Queensland’s road transport agency is holding its ground against a torrid stream of driver criticism of the soon-to-open Gatton decoupling facility.
In a statement, a Transport and Main Roads (TMR) spokesperson said there was more than enough industry consultation around its design.
When we announced its upcoming launch online, Big Rigs readers, however, were scathing in their assessment of the new heavy vehicle area, which boasts 30 parking bays and unlimited parking times for trailers.
One reader Leanne Dyer, wife of a long-time truckie and well-known administrator for several industry support groups on Facebook, told us she’d even written to authorities alerting them to the inherent dangers presented by the construction of a concrete traffic island at the entrance.
She showed us a copy of a twitter response from Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey: “Roundabouts, offramps and all associated roads were altered at the end of 2020 to accommodate B-triples and type 1’s up to 36.5 metres,” he tweeted.
“The concrete traffic island will not impede their access.”
Dyer and her husband remain adamant that isn’t the case, and also sent us this drive-by video of the entrance in support of their arguement.
“There is no way a AB triple road train will have enough room to swing in the entrance with the traffic island as it is. When did you last sit in, or drive as triple road train?” she tweeted back to Bailey.
The Dyers reiterated the same message to Big Rigs that there is also not enough room in the allotted area for 30 trucks, further underlying what they believe to be a clear lack of consultation.
“It just looks like there has been on input from people who know what needs to happen,” she told us.
“Trucks will have to run over the traffic island and it’s going to cause damage. If they wake up to themselves, they’re going to have to demolish the thing.
“A painted one would be more appropriate. That way trucks aren’t mounting a concrete traffic island and causing damage to fuel tanks.”
Dyer said that when you factor in the smaller than necessary roundabout leading into the facility, it’s a “stuff-up waiting to happen”.
The Queensland Trucking Association told us that it has similar concerns with the facility’s design.
The TMR spokesperson said the department had engaged with multiple heavy vehicle operators before works started last year, but didn’t offer Big Rigs any more particulars on who they were.
“All roads, roundabouts and off-ramps have been upgraded to accommodate heavy vehicles both entering and exiting the facility,” said the spokesperson.
“The facility is designed to accommodate B-triple and Type 1 road trains (up to 36.5 metres) and the concrete traffic island will not impede their access.
“The island was installed during the roadworks component of the project to encourage the separation of the two lanes and reduce the risk of crashes.
“We have not received any direct complaints from heavy vehicle operators about the traffic island.”
They have, however, copped both barrels from Big Rigs readers ahead of the scheduled opening later this month.
“Once again the Queensland Government has failed the transport industry,” writes Darren Rackley on our Facebook page.
“Here’s a tip boys and girls of the bureaucracy, get out of your office and talk to some operators about what is required in this infrastructure so maybe you might have a chance of getting it right.
“Or on your next taxpayer funded junket do a trip to Cloncurry and have a chat to the council about providing facilities to transport, or if you really want to throw some money around jump on a plane over to WA and see how they actually work with the industry.”