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NSW slashes red tape requirements to run PBS vehicles

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A new National Class 2 Performance Based Standards (High Productivity) Authorisation Notice 2022 has been published in NSW, the freight branch of Transport for NSW announced today.

The new updated notice, first released by the NHVR last Friday, provides “streamlined access for more productive, safer and sustainable heavy vehicle types on key freight routes throughout NSW,” the statement added.

“Thousands of permits will be replaced by this notice, saving administrative time and cost for both industry and government. Moving more of the freight task with less heavy vehicle movements is good for all.

“The new network supports access for higher productivity PBS vehicles to travel under notice on over 15,000 kilometres of state road, including vital routes for freight, the Hume and Newell highways and the Sydney Motorway network.”

The notice provides access for the following vehicle types without the need for permits:

  • PBS level 2B tandem dolly A-doubles.
  • 3 designs of Tier 3 PBS 2B A-doubles at up to 85.0 tonnes (HML).
  • Tier 3 PBS Level 1 Quad Axle semi-trailers (up to 20m in length), meeting  or exceeding the minimum axle spacing requirements on the PBS Level 1 HML state road network at 50.5 tonnes.
  • Tier 3 PBS 2B Quad Axle B-doubles up to 77.5 tonnes (HML).
  • 20m PBS Level 2 Truck and Dog combinations and B-doubles respectively up to 57.5 tonnes on the Great Western Highway between Emu Plains and Marrangaroo.

Operators of complying PBS reference vehicles no longer need a permit to operate up to 85.5 tonnes in NSW and Victoria, said a statement by commercial vehicle engineering specialist Tiger Spider.

“NSW has adopted the Victorian 30m A-double reference envelopes which means there is now a PBS A-double network connecting Australia’s two largest cities,” said Tiger Spider managing director Marcus Coleman.

The NSW Level 2B network connects with Eastern Victoria along with the Princes, Monaro, and Hume Highways.

“It is pleasing to see that NSW are prepared to put flexible and practical operating conditions to manage risk, rather than cutting off a critical part of the network,” said Coleman.

The NSW network also extends to Canberra and along the coast all the way from Nowra to Coolangatta.

“It provides a massive increase in the km of roadway available to PBS A-doubles in Eastern Australia at a useful weight increase over 26m B-doubles.

“Whilst it is great for A-doubles it should also encourage more Quad-Quad and Quad-Tri Super B-doubles since the network and dimension restrictions appear less restrictive than in Victoria.”

The 50.5 tonne quad-semi now gets a significant network upgrade and certainty of access with less restrictive axle spacing requirements than Victoria, added Coleman.

“However, the minimum axle spacing is maybe still too large to attract all commodities which could benefit from a quad-semi-trailer configuration.

“As we’ve previously argued, hopefully, we can move away from naming vehicle types and just adopt reference axle spacings. This could open the way for B-triples and other, more innovative combinations.

“Nevertheless, there is a lot on offer with this network. It will take some time to fully digest the implications of what it means and how it will impact fleet purchases. But the network delivers certainty for operators and a glimpse at what a national PBS Network will look like.”

To view the new networks, click here.

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