For decades truck drivers were allowed to hook-up and unhook their trailers on a former airstrip along the strategic Woodstock Giru Road in north Queensland.
It was never officially gazetted by Transport and Main Roads as a breakdown pad, but in the words of numerous drivers, ‘a gentlemen’s agreement’ had always existed between authorities and drivers in regards to its use.
It was common to see numerous trailers there at what the department described as a “stockpile area”.
However, about six weeks ago that changed and scalies started warning drivers and even breaching them for leaving trailers there.
Big Rigs heard that one or more drivers were fined $700.
“It was common to see six sets of trailers there,” said Woodstock owner-operator Lindsay Cavill, who is adding his voice to a push to have the area officially gazetted so truckies can resume using the area.
“There used to be a breakdown pad on the Flinders Highway near the shop until about 25 years ago and then it became a gentleman’s agreement we could use this. Until recently when scalies started fining us. It should be a breakdown area.”
When Big Rigs contacted the Transport and Main Roads Department for a response we were told the site is a dedicated stockpile pad for road maintenance and upgrade materials, and is not a truck breakdown pad.
“Close to the Flinders Highway and Woodstock-Giru Road intersection, there are four dedicated truck breakdown facilities available to heavy vehicle operators,” said a spokesperson.
“These sites include other facilities for heavy vehicle operators, are suitably signed on approach to ensure the safety of all road users, and allow for safe access and egress by trucks.
“Due to these reasons, we will not establish the material stockpile site on Woodstock Giru Road as a truck breakdown pad.”
The spokesman said the department’s number one priority is safety.
“The Woodstock Giru Road has dimension and weight restrictions which prevent vehicles more than 19m in length or weighing more than 43.5 tonnes to travel on it.
“The road is not gazetted as a B-double or road train route (multi-combination vehicles [MCV]). In its current form, the road has several constraints including bridge load limits, road widths and sight distances which make it unsuitable for as of right MCV operations.
“The Flinders Highway and Port Access Road are both gazetted for as of right Type 2 road train access, reducing the need for heavy vehicles to break down and store trailers.”
Another truckie added that the Woodstock Giru Road proved an important route for heavy vehicles in the event of the 50km stretch Bruce Highway being closed between Giru and Townsville.
“A few months back that section was closed for 13 hours after a fatal accident and trucks were able to use the Woodstock to Giru route,” he said.
- You can read a full report on this issue in our June 11 print edition.